Paul Yamilkoski

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A Road Map To Better Credit


Avoiding A Trap In Credit Scores

“ How the heck could my credit scores be off by that much, in just one month, when nothing has changed?“

That is the question that I was being asked by a gentleman who had just had a lender pull his credit for a mortgage. It only took few questions to realize that the difference was caused by the difference in the sources of the scores he was comparing.

I have touched on this subject before, but it is worth touching on again.

There are a bunch of credit scores out there that tell a story about each of us to potential lenders and others. There are scores used for renting an apartment, scores for buying an automobile, and,  of course, we know about the scores for getting a mortgage, just to name a few.

Keep in mind that credit scores are intended to determine, mathematically, the level of risk involved in lending money to a person, based upon current and past behavior, and the chance of of that defaulting on the loan. High scores indicate lower risk and low scores not so much.

All of these scores, that professionals pull, have an applied purpose. These scores are tools for making a specific business decision. Outside of the arena they are designed for, they are essentially useless. There are some that might want to argue that a bit, but put into context, there is little to debate. A score is not useful if it can not be used for an intended purpose. So, though the score we get when our credit is pulled for an auto loan is very useful for qualifying for the auto loan, it can be relatively meaningless for trying to qualify for a mortgage.

This happens because the scoring algorithms used for each purpose are different. For example, the scoring for an auto loan will weigh more heavily your past history with an auto loan. That same credit information is looked at differently when applying to rent an apartment, which looks at history relating to rental history more heavily. The same is true when you are applying for a mortgage.

There are also some scoring models designed to include individuals with less conventional credit history, who would otherwise not have a score. These will take into account reported rental history etc that are not reported to the standard system. There are a few such scoring models being used right now in the mortgage environment.

The trap in credit scoring is the “consumer” scores, sometimes referred to as “Fako” scores (as in fake scores), that are offered to the public, are not useful for any of those purposes.

Unbeknownst to the common man or woman looking at these scores, you are paying for a score that compares you to other people, but can be and often is vastly different than the scores used to qualify you for a mortgage or auto loan, for example. It is not uncommon for these “consumer” scores to be as much as 100 points different than the FICO scores that their loan officer might pull for a mortgage.

Now you are probably asking your self why anyone would pay for those scores. I ask myself that same question all the time. The only time I have ever known anyone to be even a little bit interested in their credit scores, is in the context of lend being able to get a loan or credit card etc.

There are a few rare people that watch scores closely because scores affect insurance rates and so on, but most people are not nearly that attentive. Heck, I’m a credit expert and help people with their credit for a living, and I don’t focus on my own credit that intently. I take care of following a basic plan and, other than a periodic check to make sure nothing has gone wrong, my credit is pretty much on auto pilot.

So why do those other scores exist, if they can’t be used for any real purpose such as lending? And why do people pay for something that has so little relevance and hence lacks any real value?

Well, I can tell you why they exist. There is an obvious need for people to know their scores, so they can get qualified for a loan. The challenge is that the algorithm that is used for mortgages, FICO, is very closely guarded and expensive for companies to obtain and use. So, if you don’t want to pay for the real thing, you make up your own and sell it.

It is all about making a buck.

Consumers, however, rarely understand that the scores are not relevant when considering lending. You have to really look and pay attention on those various sites to get any idea that they are not going to be helpful for lending.

I have worked with thousands of clients, and a high percentage of them were confused and frustrated by consumer scores, when they went to their loan officer to get a mortgage.

I have not taken the time to  evaluate all the services out there, and do not plan to do so. But I can tell you a few that we encounter on a regular basis that do not give you FICO scores for your money.

Credit Karma is one we hear of often. I have not had a single client that used that service that received FICO scores. If you use them to monitor your credit, and are focussing on your scores, check to see what scores they provide and remember that the scores may be light years from where your FICO score your lender will pull are.

Another example lies with the credit bureaus. Most people would think that getting their credit scores directly from each bureau would be accurate for lending. But most of the time, the scores being offered by them are not FICO scores. What is interesting, is that you can get FICO scores from them in some cases. You just have to dig for the right product. I know that Experian offers one particular product called Credit Check Total that provides FICO scores.

What I hope to make clear here, is that all scores are not the same, even when being pulled for legitimate lending purposes. Don’t be surprised if the scores you got when buying a car are different from the ones pulled for a mortgage. More importantly, I want you to remember that the majority of scores you will get from monitoring services will not be worth anything, if you are looking because you are planning to get lending. Don’t waste your money.

I hope you found this helpful and I welcome comments and questions. Please also share the information with your friends and contacts. Odds are they will learn something and be thankful for it.

If you are facing credit challenges, or you have a client that you are going to have to turn away due to credit challenges, then I encourage you to give me a call. A reputable company like Heartland Credit Restoration can help you turn things around and get that credit loan ready.

There isn’t a better company you can go to for help, and the consultation is always free.

I will look forward to talking to you and until then I hope you have a wonderfully blessed day!

Getting Threatened? Threats Are Not Okay!

“Pay us today or we will have the sheriff at your door to arrest you this afternoon!”

“But I don’t have the money right now to be able to pay it.” she said.

“It doesn’t matter!” demanded the voice on the other end of the phone. “You have to pay today or we will have you arrested and seize your bank account and your home!”

“What do I do?” cried the young woman when she called me for help. “I don’t have that kind of money.”

She was practically in tears with fear over the threats that were issued buy the collection agent on the phone just a few minutes earlier.

I told her not to worry, that everything will be alright.

“You see,” I said calmly, “It is completely illegal for the collection agent to issue such threats. Not only are the threats illegal, but the collection company has absolutely no power or authority to seize bank accounts or your home, and you have not broken any laws to warrant the police arresting you.”

“Are you sure?” she asked.

“Absolutely!” I assured her. “Let me tell you about a little thing called consumer rights.”

It is never acceptable for collectors to threaten people.

I have talked about and shared this information before, but with tax season upon us, I have noticed even more of this happening, as collectors prey upon people getting their tax returns back as easy targets.

The first thing I encourage all people to remember when dealing with collection agents, is that it is illegal to threaten anyone. They can not get you arrested. And, unless they have already taken you to court and gotten a court order, they are not going to seize your bank account or home. It is part of the set of laws that have been established to protect consumers from such abusive collection tactics.

It is a good idea to be aware of your rights so that you can avoid the tremendous and unnecessary additional stress related to addressing collections. You can find information about the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act here: rules/rulemaking-regulatory-reform-proceedings/ fair-debt-collection-practices-act-text

In most cases, there is more to the situation than just abusive tactics. Commonly there are other issues as well on the credit report that need addressed.

If you have found yourself in a situation where you are getting those nasty calls, or just are at a point where you are realizing your credit is in rough shape and need help, a reputable credit restoration company like Heartland Credit Restoration is a great place to start. They are professionals that will treat you with understanding and compassion and help you get things turned around and eliminate those nasty calls. In fact, in just a matter of months you could be loan worthy again.

 Call me for a free consultation to see how we might be able to help. 319-533-5236.

If you are a lender or realtor that has a client you might have to turn away due to credit problems, then let me see if Heartland Credit Restoration can help change that client into a approved client with loan ready credit.

You should never have to say “NO” to a client. We can help change those into a “YES”.

Call me for a free consultation. 319-533-5236.

Don’t forget to let me know what you think. I always welcome comments. And please do me a favor and share this with your contacts on social media.

I’m looking forward to helping you.

Until then, I hope you have a wonderfully blessed day!

Time Doesn’t Heal All Things

I have often heard it said that time heals all things.

But as much as we might want this to be true, so often the reality is quite the contrary. We can sit and let time pass and find that little or nothing has changed.

I think the reason so many people experience this is because time is only an ingredient to healing. Time itself does not actually do anything. Time is not dynamic and active. It cannot achieve or accomplish. Time has no action. It is merely an environment for what really matters to happen.

Healing is the result of an action, an action that occurs repeatedly or is sustained over a period of time. The action can’t be random or a continuation of the action that led up to the event the now requires healing either. There must be a change in the action, so the results can be healing instead if injury.

The challenge so often is that we desire to just have things fix themselves and go away. We don’t want to actually deal with the situation. We don’t really want to change. We want to believe that it was misfortune that resulted in our injury, rather than our actions, so we can keep on doing what we want, when we want, and things get better again and stay that way.

I see this in nearly every facet of life, but as a credit restoration professional an credit counselor I see this especially often.

People make choices and take actions and find themselves with credit problems, only to try to point the finger at outside influences, circumstances and events as the reason they are where they are. Shifting the blame makes it very easy to be comfortable in not making a change, relaxing and continuing our path. It makes it very easy to simply say that time will heal everything.

In credit, this idea of time healing all things is expanded by the presence of statutes of limitation. The law says, for example, that a potentially negative element on our credit can only report for a period of time and then must be removed.

On the surface, this would indicate that time heals all things. In reality, it doesn’t always work that way.

You see, for each account that shows on your credit report there are many elements that can affect your credit score. The information about each account is provided to the credit bureaus, who are keepers and reporters of the information that is provided to them. The bureaus do not vet the information to insure accuracy before reporting because there are rules about providing accurate verifiable information to the bureaus. But the reality is it is very common that inaccurate information is provided to them. The result can be, for example, a collection account reporting as if it just happened, when it really is years old.

Why does this matter? It matters because, in credit, as in life, an injury has the greatest affect on us when the injury initially occurs. Then, over time, the action of healing is supposed to occur, the affect on our scores diminish, and eventually the injury disappear. But if the collection, as in this example, is reporting as if it just happened, the wound is effectively being kept open and no healing over time is happening. Time is not healing all things.

If this were your credit and you wanted to buy a house, your scores would be taking a beating and you would likely not qualify for a mortgage. In addition, many lenders have an overly requirement that says you must have 12-24 months of clean credit history, meaning no new late history or collections. Even though the collection in the example may be years old, if it is reporting as new, then you would be required to wait the requisite time for the collection to be outside that 12-24 month window.

The problem here is that if the collection continues to report as new, then it never gets old, your scores will remain low, and you will never meet that clean history requirement. Time will not heal all.

It may be inaccurate and illegal for the collection to be reported this way. But that doesn’t prevent it from happening. The collection company providing the information to the bureaus may not even realize they are reporting it wrong, and the bureaus assume the information is being provided accurately,  as required by law. Unless some action is taken here nothing will change.

imagesThe key is taking action. Taking no action means nothing changes. Take the wrong action and things could get worse. Take the appropriate action and things get better.

I really want your credit situation to get better!

If you know someone who has credit issues and is thinking that they will give it a few months and then work on buying a home, or that they will work on their credit themselves, ask the to think about that honestly and then act.

Stop waiting. Time waiting is just lost time, and with the likelihood of interest rates going up, it is lost money.

The choices and actions that they have been making up to this point are what got them where they are. It will take different thinking and different actions to get a different result. If they don’t know the ins and outs of credit, encourage them to get the right help, so they heal properly.

Whether you are an individual will credit challenges or you are a lender or realtor with a client that has credit challenges, a great place to get that help is with a reputable credit restoration company like Heartland Credit Restoration. We give all potential clients a free consultation to determine if you really need repair or just need pointed in the right direction.

Don’t just sit back and wait for time to heal everything. Take action to get real healing. Call me for that free consultation, or connect me with your client that needs the consultation. We will help you and them. You can reach me at 319-533-5236 or

I welcome your questions and comments and encourage you to share this with your friends and contacts on social media.

Until we meet again I hope you have a wonderfully blessed day!

Can Credit Be Repaired?

I get asked questions about credit all the time. One of the most common is from lenders. They say " Paul, can credit really be fixed?"

The short answer is, yes it can.

Let me start by giving you some stats about your credit reports.

In Feb 10, 2013 CBS News reported about A study indicating as many as 40 million consumers have a mistake on their credit report. Since then there have been a few follow up studies. In the latest update in 2015 the FTC  noted that, in the case where an item was disputed as inaccurate with the CRA’s, "…of these consumers (nearly 70 percent) continue to believe that at least some of the disputed information is inaccurate."

Around the same time as the initial reports were released, the U.S. Government reported that,

One in four consumers identified errors on their credit reports that might affect their credit scores – that’s 25% of consumers

One in five consumers had an error that was corrected by a credit reporting agency (CRA) after it was disputed, on at least one of their three credit reports – that’s 20%

Four out of five consumers who filed disputes experienced some modification to their credit report – that’s 80% saw their reports modified

Slightly more than one in 10 consumers saw a change in their credit score after the CRAs modified errors on their credit report

and Approximately one in 20 consumers had a maximum score change of more than 25 points.

That’s what the stats say, and those numbers include both consumers that got professional help with their credit and those that did it on their own.

Now, Heartland Credit Restoration has a combined professional experience of over 50 years in the industry.

So our numbers are even better, 

  TRU Results 1.jpg   TRU Results 2.jpg   TRU Results 3.jpg

as you can see from these reports that some of our clients received directly from the credit bureaus, after making changes to their credit reports. How you go about the process of addressing negative and inaccurate information on your credit report really does make a difference. Our experience really pays off for our clients.

Now, credit restoration is not a magic wand. Things do not just get removed from your report, especially if they are in fact accurate.

And it does not generally happen over night. I’m not saying that things never get corrected quickly. But  remember that we are dealing with large corporations where one hand commonly doesn’t know what the other is doing, where departments are significantly understaffed to handle the work load, and where there is little or no financial incentive to even worry about doing it right, and so it can be a challenge to get them on the same page.  

Credit restoration is a process that takes time. For many people that means six months or more.

Remember, you didn’t get into credit trouble over night. So the problem is not going away over night.

So, once a person has their credit " repaired ", what does their credit look like?

Well we could spend a lot of time on that one, but I won’t.

It really depends upon your goals.

Generally, as far as we at Heartland Credit Restoration are concerned, it means your credit is loan ready – your score is high enough and your credit report is clean enough to to meet the requirements of your lender to qualify you for a mortgage.

That is where we at Heartland Credit Restoration would say "repaired" credit starts.

Well, that’s today’s credit tidbit.

I welcome your comments and ask that you share this information with all your contacts on social media. We at Heartland Credit Restoration are all about helping people get positive control over their credit, and the more people that know this kind of information, the better.

If you are facing credit challenges, or you have a client that you are going to have to turn away due to credit challenges, then I encourage you to give me a call, and put the power of our experience to work for you. We can look at how Heartland Credit Restoration might be able to help you turn things around and get that credit loan ready. There isn’t a better company you can go to for help. 

I will look forward to talking to you and I hope you have a wonderfully blessed day!

Why Should I Check My Credit Report?

"Why Should I Check My Credit Report?"

I get asked this question a lot.

On one hand, it seems obvious to nearly everyone that knowing what is reporting on your credit report is important.

But, on the other hand, that is kind of like saying it is important to eat healthy. We all know it. But that is not necessarily enough to get us to do it.

So lets give checking our credit report a little meaning and value.

I’ll give you five reasons it is important to check your credit report:

1. Identity Theft –             identity-theft-368x208.jpg               You would be amazed (or maybe not) by how many people have their identity stolen on a daily basis. According to an article published by the

Insurance Information Institute, it is estimated that 12.7 million people got their identity stolen in 2014 totaling $16 billion, slightly down from 13.1 million cases in 2013. You don’t want to be one of those. Keeping a close eye on your credit can help catch a thief quickly, and save you a lot of work trying to repair the damage.

2. Wrong Information – This is a little like identity theft, in that you have things reporting on your credit that have nothing to do with you. Those things can be very damaging to your credit. It is very easy for things to get onto your report that are not yours. Think about it. All it takes is a simple typing error at any point of a customer’s journey making a purchase, and you could have that info reporting on your credit. This is especially true when you have a common name, are a junior or 1st 2nd or 3rd. I see this most significantly with Hispanic names, as it is not uncommon for them to have multiple name elements that match for a father and all the sons. This gets compounded when the entire family gets their social security numbers at nearly the same time, because the numbers also end up being very similar. When you think about it, it is easy to see why it can be very important to know what is reporting on your credit.

3. Inaccurate Information – This information is yours, but not reporting correctly. This may not seem like a big deal in many cases. But you would be surprised how big an affect wrong balances on credit cards or wrong dates for late history can have on your scores. You might even have late history showing that was never actually 30 days or more late. This is all very important to keep an eye on. I often see errors like this that, when repaired, cause a significant change in a person’s credit scores.

4. Planning for Financing –        images.jpeg       Your credit report, and the score that is generated from the information reporting on it, have a direct affect on your ability to qualify for lending and the interest rate you will pay. You will want to be aware of how things are reporting, so you can act to maximize your opportunity and benefit when getting lending of any kind. A 1% difference in the interest rate for a $150,000 home on a 30 year mortgage will result in more than a $30,000 difference in the amount of money you will pay over the life of the loan. On a $250,000 loan it can mean a difference of more than $50,000 over the life of the loan. A little investment in improving your credit can pay huge dividends.

5. Credit Affects Everything – Your credit score can affect your ability to get a mortgage or auto loan and the interest rate you pay. This can be huge. I have seen a person’s monthly auto payment double from what someone else was paying for the same loan value, simply because of the difference in their credit score. Your credit score can affect your ability to open a credit card and the interest rates they charge. Does your credit card charge 0%-5% interest or do you get changed 29%? Your score (and your history on that card) will be the difference. Your credit score can affect your ability to rent an apartment, to open a checking account, or to get a personal loan. Potential employers will often check your credit when making a hiring decision, or when considering you for a security clearance. Your credit score can even affect the rates you pay on health, life and auto insurance. I have a friend who sells insurance that said more companies are using credit in setting the premiums customers pay. In fact, he mentioned he got several new customers that came to him because the particular company they were with was almost doubling their premiums at renewal, all because they were using credit scores in determining premiums now. 

I hope is is not only obvious to you that your credit is important to watch, but that it is important enough to act upon. Sadly, most people don’t worry about their credit until they need to use it.

Checking your report is free – You are allowed to get a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus one time every twelve months from

If you check your credit and discover that there are some problems, a reputable credit restoration company like Heartland Credit Restoration can make the process radically easier and timely, and they will make sure your credit is loan ready as well as life ready. The investment in your credit will pay fantastic dividends in all areas of your financial life over the years to come.

I welcome your comments and ask that you share this information with all your contacts on social media. We at Heartland Credit Restoration are all about helping people get positive control over their credit, and the more people that know this kind of information, the better.

If you are facing credit challenges, or you have a client that you are going to have to turn away due to credit challenges, then I encourage you to give me a call. We can look at how Heartland Credit Restoration might be able to help you turn things around and get that credit loan ready. There isn’t a better company you can go to for help. I will look forward to talking to you and I hope you have a wonderfully blessed day!

What Kind of Person Are You?

It is time to ask some questions.

What kind of a person openly lies to you or cheats and steals from others? What kind of person considers themselves above the law, but thinks others should be held to it? What kind of person would take an oath and then openly defy that oath? What kind of person holds others to a different standard than they hold themselves? What kind of person says they believe something and then does not reflect that belief in the way they live their life and conduct themselves professionally and socially? What kind of person cheats on a spouse or physically abuses a child, spouse or significant other? What kind of person would use anger over something that happened to someone else as an excuse to loot and burn businesses? What kind of person says that it is my right to choose to kill another human being and not be accountable for the choice that resulted in that person’s existence? What kind of person thinks that because another person was killed by a cop, that is is acceptable to target and murder cops? What kind of person thinks that death threats are acceptable because a business suggests vegans not apply for a job, when the job entails tasting foods not in line with that diet choice? What kind of person would choose to be represented, before the entire world, by someone who has contempt for the law, violates public trust, uses public service for personal gain, perjures themselves before congress, mishandles secret information that ends up in the hands of the enemy, leaves those in need high and dry and is a part of efforts to rig an election? (Don’t worry, this is not a political piece). 

What kind of person stands by and just does nothing in the face of such degradation and defilement, or worse, supports it?

I doubt many people would argue that one answer could be used to answer all of these questions. THE ANSWER WOUD BE "A BAD PERSON".

Sadly, this is just a small smattering of what is going on in our country today. Even more sad, is the fact that this can and probably should be seen as an indictment of most if not all of the people of this country, myself included.       finger pointing smaller.jpg

Now, I am not here to indict anyone. That would place me in a position to judge people and label them as bad. That would make me part of the problem. I love people, but I hate the things that people do sometimes. And I am here to say there is a horrific problem in this country that is getting worse by the day. That problem stems from a level of complacency that has grown to monumental proportions and combined with a twisted sense of what "love" is. The result is that we are a people that are desensitized by constant exposure to and have become accepting and tolerant of evil and sinful behavior, and it has become the norm to allow it to happen. It almost seems like there is nothing we can do about it and that it is all hopeless.

But I am here to say it is not all hopeless! It is written that "The path of the virtuous leads away from evil; whoever follows that path is safe" (Prov 16:17) It is also written that "The prudent understand where they are going, but fools deceive themselves" (Prov 14:8). We are not fools! We can make a change.

We can look at the world around us and be shocked and dismayed by the way others act, but we can not control the horrible choices that others make. We can not expect to be able to change their minds through logic or facts. Solomon, one of the wisest people to ever live, wrote "Fools have no interest in understanding; they only want to air their own opinions (Prov 18:2). 

We can not sit around and do nothing either. "Work brings profit, but mere talk leads to poverty!" (Prov 14:23) "A lazy person is as bad as someone who destroys things (Prov 18:9). 

The fact is that any change has to start with us, instead of pointing fingers at others. We need to "Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it" (Psalm 34:14). We need to not be overcome with evil, but overcome evil with good (Rom 12:21). We need to remember, "Keep the commandments and keep your life; despising them leads to death" (Proverbs 19:16). "Godliness makes a nation great, but sin is a disgrace to any people" (Prov 14:34). 

Our lives, choices and decisions need to be in that framework of right and good. Starting with ourselves, we need to live striving for the higher standard and being intolerant of defiling behavior. "Those who follow the right path fear the Lord; those who take the wrong path despise him (Prov 14:2).                images.jpeg

When we make choices in our lives, we need to seek the higher standard. When we make decisions about who we will choose to lead or represent us, we need to expect and demand an even higher standard. A leader, at any level, plays the roll and carries the responsibility of representing who and what we are, the face, beliefs and convictions of us, to a greater audience. We defile ourselves when we choose a leader who demonstrates defiling behavior. We are, in part, telling the world around us that what can be seen in the leader we choose, is what we want the world to see about us.

These words are especially pointed at the Judeo-Christian part of the world, as many of these words come directly from the bible and are supposed to be foundational to our beliefs. But, though many non-believers will jump to that point as not applying to them because it is from the bible, the fact is these words are wise for all people, especially a nation that is formed as One Nation Under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

Now, in that light, I have a confession to make. There was a time when I hated some people, not many, but there were some. Those that are closest to me have seen it. There was a time, for example, when the very existence of Bill and Hillary Clinton was offensive to me and made me recoil in disgust and hate. Their behavior and words were the antithesis of what I believed was right and acceptable from anyone, especially a leader. I literally had a physical response of revulsion. I present this example because Hillary and her performance and defiling behavior is so prominent in the news of today.

But I was wrong, so very wrong to allow myself that feeling of hate toward another person and to allow that feeling to direct my actions. That was and is not the standard that God, through Jesus Christ, set for us. We are called to love the sinner, which is all people, for none on earth are without sin, but to hate the sin. The Holy Spirit convicted my heart for that, and helped me see how I needed to change. It as been a long hard road, one that has only been possible by God’s grace, that has allowed me to separate the sin from the sinner, love all people as God’s creation, yet hate the sinful things we people do and, in as loving a way as possible, stand against that sin. 

It is extremely challenging, and I can not claim to even be good at it, but with God’s help I strive for God’s standard. In doing so I can make a change in me and the immediate world around me. It is my prayer that we would all seek to do the same, and in turn, that our nation would get off the path to destruction we find ourselves on. We can all change. There is hope. All is not too far gone and lost.

I love people. I love to help people. I love making a difference in their lives. I love that I have been blessed to be able to do so in my life as well as, in some small way,my career in credit restoration. It is so very gratifying to get the opportunity and be able to speak hope into another person’s life, especially when things seem out of control. So I am going to say it again. There is hope. We can change things. We do no have to tear everything apart or start over. We just need to change our direction in our personal lives and the choices and decisions we make, by making sure those choices and decisions do not defile us or those around us. If we all strive for that change, our nation will change with us. 

God Bless America!       images.jpeg

If you or anyone you know is facing credit challenges and would like some help, Heartland Credit Restoration is a great place to start. Give yourself the opportunity to change your situation. Call or email me for a free consultation today. 

The same goes for those of you who are realtors or lenders and have clients with credit challenges. Tell them you know a company that is fantastic at helping people find hope and get their credit loan ready, so they can realize their dreams a new home. Ask them if they would offended if you forward their contact info to me. I will be happy to give them a free consultation and see what we can do to get them back to you with loan ready credit.  

I welcome your comments and encourage you to share this on your social networks, and as always, I hope you have a wonderfully blessed day!

There Is Always Hope!

“There is nothing that can be done” she said. “We already disputed the debt and it turns out we do really owe it. Besides, I know how to read a credit report and there is nothing that can be done.”

Have you ever heard this kind of comment from someone? I have, many times. Commonly it stems from a feeling or sense of pointlessness or futility when things are just not going according to plan and things start to feel hopeless and we feel defeated.       images.jpeg

I think most of us have been there, to some degree, at one point or another. It is always a challenge, as we are faced with giving up or persevering.

In this case, the young woman I was talking to and her husband were facing a situation where their credit scores were preventing them from getting a home loan. Their scores were about 40 points from where their lender wanted them to be to get a loan for them. That is not too far off and very reasonable to overcome, in most cases.

She had several issues on her credit, that made it very clear that she needed repair help, and that she could get qualified. But they needed both incomes and therefore both credit scores to qualify for a loan. The challenge was her husband’s credit. There were only two or three collections on her husband’s credit report, and as far as she was concerned, only one of them was having any real affect on his scores (remember how she said she knew how to read a credit report?).

The collection she was referring to was for about $1000 and, when they did not recognize the debt, they had disputed the account with the creditor. In that process, they discovered what the debt was, and that they indeed owed the money. To this young woman, that meant that there was nothing that could be done about her husband’s credit, since in her opinion the other collections didn’t matter.

It quickly became clear to me that this woman and her husband really felt defeated after being declined for a mortgage and then disputing the collection, thinking that might solve the problem, just to find out it was a legitimate debt.

I could understand feeling that way. There are many emotions that start to come into play at that point. They probably felt a bit embarrassed about getting declined, a little angered or offended that there was a debt reporting that they didn’t think was theirs, a little excited at the idea that they would just dispute it and it would go away and they would suddenly be qualified, disappointed when they found out it was theirs and wasn’t going away, embarrassed at thinking that way and being wrong, and so on. It can be a roller coaster of emotions. I’ve experienced that roller coaster and I’ve seen it many times.

images.jpeg                           I tried to speak some hope into the situation and pointed out that there were several other opportunities to improve things on their reports. I also pointed out that the debt amount was not what was hurting his scores and that there were clearly issues with it reporting incorrectly that were more significant. There was no doubt in my mind we could get the errors corrected and help the two of them get qualified for a loan.

She then changed gears on me, as if she had not heard what I was saying. She became fixated on the fact that their scores were distinctly different on the latest credit report than they were when they had credit pulled for a possible auto loan just a month before, and that there was nothing different on the report and that something was clearly wrong. There are many ways this can happen and I explained some of them to try to get her past that issue. I told her, if anything, it made it that much more clear that there were issues that we could get corrected.

Again, she seemed to not even hear me. She was so fixated on the fact that she knew how to read a credit report and therefore that there was nothing that could be done, that she could now only focus on the conspiracy theory that must be behind the inexplicable drop in their scores.

Here was a strong, intelligent woman that was so blinded by the emotion of their situation and her pride about what she thinks she knows, that she was unable and/or unwilling to recognize that she had an expert telling her it could be fixed and if they didn’t do something, their scores would not improve and they would lose their chance at the home they want.

I would love to say that I got her turned around and she and her husband now have great credit scores and got their home, but I can’t. I blame myself, to some degree, for not being able to help her overcome her emotion and see the hope that really was there. But I won’t give up on them. It means a great deal to me to be able to help people out of those defeated places. That is why I do what I do.

What I really want to point out with this story, is how we all exhibit this kind of behavior, to some degree, at some point in our lives. If we allow ourselves to stay thinking and feeling that way, then we are going to get a known result, and it won’t be a good one. We may not like the situation, but focusing on not liking it or someone, will not change anything. We have everything to lose and nothing to gain if we stay in that place. We have everything to gain and nothing to lose, if we take it one step at a time and push through and persevere.
I want to encourage everyone to persevere and strive for the possibility of better things. We know if we stay on the same course, we will just get more of the same or worse. Don’t settle for more of a bad thing. Remember that there is always a chance to make things better, if we are willing to keep moving forward. 

If you or anyone you know is facing credit challenges and would like somehow and some help, Heartland Credit Restoration is a great place to start. Call or email me for a free consultation.

The same goes for those of you who are realtors or lenders and have clients with credit challenges. Tell them you know a company that is fantastic at helping people find hope and get their credit loan ready, so they can realize their dreams a new home. Ask them if they would offended if you forward their contact info to me. I will be happy to give them a free consultation and see what we can do to get them back to you with loan ready credit.   images.jpg

Please share this with your friends and contacts on social media. I also welcome comments and encourage you to feel free to let me know if you have any questions. In the mean time, I hope you have a wonderfully blessed day!

Please Don’t Co-sign

I have worked with thousands of clients who have come to me with all kinds of credit issues. In every case we have been able to help them get those issues corrected and help those clients get their credit loan ready.

There are some things that people do that can have epic impact on their credit. Bankruptcy and divorce are two of the biggies. It should come as no surprise to you there. We all have heard the horror stories about one spouse holding the credit of another hostage, or creditors failing to properly report the accounts that were included in a bankruptcy, and as a result trashing a person’s credit.

One very big action, that does not immediately come to mind for people, is co-signing on a loan.

I understand why people do it. But, from a credit perspective, I have to strongly advise you never do it. When you co-sign a loan, you are opening yourself up to a pandora’s box of potential problems and credit pain.

images.jpeg            Most of the clients I have dealt with, that have co-signed a loan, are parents that signed with one of their children. Usually they have signed on a note to purchase an automobile. Now, I’m a parent, and I get it. You want to help your child out. You want them to have the best opportunities. You want them to have it better than you did.

But the bottom line is that they are never really going to have it good until they can be responsible for themselves. That would mean that if a car is important, they make a plan and work that plan and buy the car themselves. It will take a lot longer, but it will empower them and save you from disaster.

If you want to help them, teach them to follow a budget, how to save money and how to develop their own credit profile. Give them the tools and teach them how to use them. Don’t just give them the result. They will never appreciate it and you will be creating an entitlement monster.

But more importantly, you will avoid the epic disaster should they start missing payments or default on the loan. Now, you would be amazed by how many clients that have told me that they didn’t think they should be affected by the actions of their children, in these cases. It is almost shocking at times.

If you co-sign a loan, you have to remember that you are really getting your own loan, in your name, that you are responsible for. Only you are having the bills for the loan sent to someone else and you will never know it is not getting paid on time or at all. Also, the collateral that is securing the loan, the car, someone else has total control over.

If they start making late payments, your credit is damaged as if you were the one missing the payments. If the car gets repossessed, it is physically taken away from the child, but financially taken away from you. Now, because of someone else, you don’t have the car, and you are now on the hook for the remaining amount owed on the car, minus the money the bank gets for selling it at auction after subtracting the cost of selling it, which is next to nothing. (I have seen a forty-five thousand dollar truck sell for a few thousand dollars at auction, and after selling fees, the original owner still owed thirty three thousand dollars on a vehicle they will never see again.)       images.jpeg

That’s not all. All late payments are going to directly reflect in your credit. A single 30 day late on a loan can cost you 50-100 points or more, depending upon how good your score is to begin with. It will take you 6-8 months to recover most of the damage caused by that single 30 day late pay.

If the loan defaulted and there was a repossession, voluntary or otherwise, there will be multiple late pays and even more damage. Plus a repossession of a vehicle is just as damaging to your credit as a foreclosure on a house. It will not only cost you even more points on your credit, but it will, in many cases, prevent you from getting a mortgage for 2-3 years.

The same things will happen to your child’s credit, but if they were having you co-sign, they were not likely to be thinking about a mortgage for a while. It is far more significant for you.

What’s more, the bank is not going to go after your child alone. They are going to come after you. If you give them trouble about paying, they can take you to court and get a judgment against you, which opens the door to aggressive collection actions and another big negative on your credit.        

Now, I know not all kids are going to put you in that position, and that not every person you might co-sign with is one of your kids. I also know that many people co-sign on a loan and never have a problem. But let’s face it. Kids are generally not very responsible. They are kids, not adults. That is why they need you to co-sign in the first place. The same generally goes for anyone else that would want you to co-sign for them.        images.jpeg

So do yourself a favor. Stand strong and don’t co-sign. You will avoid the possibility of great pain later.

But if you have been bitten by co-signing a loan with someone, a reputable credit restoration company like Heartland Credit Restoration can really be a big help in getting things back on track and your credit loan ready. Give me a call for a free consultation.

Creating Credit Scores

Credit scores are an important part of our daily lives.
They affect our ability to get a mortgage, get an auto loan, a personal loan or a credit card. They can even affect getting a job or our insurance rates. If, our score is bad, or worse yet, we don’t have a score, things can get difficult.

So, it is not surprising to me that people wonder what it takes to get a credit score. What is surprising, is how the perception is presented that, for many people,  it is really hard to have or get a credit score. Just a heads up, I may travel down a rabbit trail at some point. It is important to me that people get the help they need. In that zeal I can get a little worked up, so please show me a little grace the it happens.

There is not really a complex formula to creating a score. Basically, you have to have something positive about your financial activities being reported to your credit report.

According to FICO’s website, as long as your credit report contains the following minimum requirements, you should have a FICO credit score being developed:
    – At least one account that has been open for six months or more
    – At least one undisputed account that has been reported to the credit bureau within the past six months.
    – No indication of decease on the credit report (Please note: if you share an account with another person this may affect you if the other account holder is reported deceased).
That’s it. That is all it takes to have a FICO score get generated for your credit.

Now, there are many important elements to having a “good” credit score, and I will cover many of those in future posts, but it is generally fairly simple. 
First you need to have an account that you get graded on. This is basically a credit card, a personal loan, auto loan or a mortgage. As noted above, you only need to have one to be able to generate a score.

Second, you need to get a good grade on that account, if you want a good score. You accomplish this by always paying your bill on-time. In the case of a credit card, you also keep your balances low compared to your limit, when it gets reported to the bureaus each month. You don’t need to spend lots of money and you don’t even have to spend any money each month. In fact, ideally you will spend very little each month (of course credit card companies would cringe at me saying that).

Now, you are probably wondering what is third. Well, you don’t have to have a step three in order to get decent credit scores. If you add a couple more accounts, so that you have what would be referred to as an ideal mix of credit, you will see your scores grow more quickly and reach into the top tier scores more readily. The ideal mix is basically 2-3 credit cards, an auto loan and a mortgage. Anything more is basically overkill and not going to get you any appreciable additional benefit.

The key from there is time, time always paying those accounts on-time, and in the case of the credit cards, keeping them open forever with balances low when they report to the credit bureaus. The older they get the more power they have on your credit. 

That’s it. Good credit is the result of discipline and consistent good fiscal behavior over time. That is basically all there is to achieving good credit scores.

I hope you can see that credit, in general, is indeed simple. However, that does not mean it is easy. Life happens, and I get that. The Lord knows that I am indeed aware of that.

That is where the complexity of the scoring equation comes from.       

The job of credit scoring basically is to create an indication of how likely it is that a person will default on a debt. The algorithm for credit scores is very complex and considers everything relating to credit transactions that is reported on your credit report, and from many different angles.

This happens because statistics show, for example, that there is a clear difference in the likelihood of defaulting on a debt, between one person who was late on five accounts all at the same time, indicating an isolated circumstance, and and another person who was late five times over a period of time, demonstrating a pattern of failing fiscal behavior.

Some people are really bothered by this and think it is unfair to be judged by past behavior. images.jpeg    Those people somehow have been duped into believing that accountability does not apply to them. But like it or not, the real world cares about your history. Those that ignore or forget history, are doomed to repeat it. (That is something I learned in late elementary or early junior high school, and it has stuck with me ever since.)

I have still had people try to disagree with me, in spite of what I just noted, but a simple analogy almost always stops them in their tracks… most of them anyway.

That analogy is to look at things this way: Suppose I had a dog that  was really nice. It was fantastic with children and adults alike, and seemed to have the best disposition you ever saw in a dog. Would you let you children play with it?

Almost always I get an affirmation that yes it would be fine for their kids to play with the dog.

Now, how about if I told you that the dog had bitten children, without any warning or provocation, on five occasions over the last year. Would you still let your children play with that dog? Or, how about if it had only bit a child once, but had really injured the child seriously?

The answer is always an emphatic "NO". 

So, though those people, just a short time ago, had told me it is wrong or unfair to judge them by their history, they were in fact completely willing to do the very same thing. 

This brings me to another element that finds its way into the conversation, and though it may be a bit of a rabbit trail, here it is.

There is a lot of talk about some sectors of society, millennials for example, and how credit eludes them, disenfranchises them, or that it is unfair to require them to get credit, when they don’t want to get it.           people-standing-in-line-up-1762501.jpg

Well, it’s not really true that they can’t get credit. For the most part, the notion that the scoring system disenfranchises them or is unfair to them is nothing more than political misspeak politicians use for the purpose of political gain, in my opinion. 

The reason I say that, is there are many avenues to establish credit, that are relatively easy to get, if you are willing to front a small amount of money to secure the line of credit. There are also some other less traditional things, such as getting your rent payment history reported to the credit bureaus, to show consistent good fiscal behavior.

But more than that, it strikes me as a bit silly to think you should be able to get major credit, such as a mortgage, when you have never done anything to show you can responsibly pay it back.

You have to pay to play folks. If you don’t want to use credit, or use it properly, then don’t complain about not having it or it costing you a lot. If you want to pay cash for everything, that is fantastic. That will prevent you from getting yourself into trouble. That is your choice.

But with all choices come consequences, either good or bad. In the case of paying cash and not having any credit, you will have to pay cash for your automobile or house too. You may also pay a little more on your insurance etc. You know that when you make the choice. If you don’t want it that way, then you will have to accept the fact that you need to establish credit, even if it is just to use as a tool for your future plans. The point here is that credit is available, and whether you choose to have credit or not, you know what you will get as a result of that choice.

Maybe some people are not ready for credit. And for those that are not ready for it, maybe that means they are not ready for the things that require a good credit score to obtain. Maybe they just need to work their way up to that point. Let’s face it, obtaining financing for something is not a right. It is a privilege that is earned by demonstrating fiscal responsibility over time.

That is what it takes to create good credit scores.             approved4.jpg

If you or anyone you know is facing credit challenges and would like some help, Heartland Credit Restoration is a great place to start. Call or email me for a free consultation.

The same goes for those of you who are realtors or lenders and have clients with credit challenges. Tell them you know a company that is fantastic at helping people get their credit loan ready, so they can realize their dreams a new home. Ask them if they would offended if you forward their contact info to me. I will be happy to give them a free consultation and see what we can do to get them back to you with loan ready credit.

Please share this with your friends and contacts on social media. I also welcome comments and encourage you to feel free to let me know if you have any questions. In the mean time, I hope you have a wonderfully blessed day!

Can I repair My Own Credit?

I get asked all the time about credit. One of the most common is " Can I repair my own credit?"

The simple answer is yes. Yes you can. 

Now, why would a professional, with one of the best credit restoration companies in the country, say such a thing?

Well, the reality is that there is nothing that you pay other people to do, that you can’t do your self.

You can fix your own car, drill your own teeth, give yourself shots, do your own taxes, represent yourself in court, grow your own food make your own clothes. Heck you could even conduct your own brain surgery, if you really wanted, though I doubt even the greatest brain surgeon would operate on themselves instead of have a colleague do it.     brain surgery on self.jpg

The list is endless. The real question though, is if you have the time and knowledge to do it at all, and if is sensible for you to go it alone. 

When it comes to credit, the perception that "all it takes is a few letters", leads many people to believe they don’t need a professional or that they should not have to pay for their help. The perception is made worse by credit repair companies that promise unrealistic  results overnight, making it sound too easy.

Heartland Credit Restoration has conducted free consultations with thousands of potential clients. Some just needed pointed in the right direction. Some were not ready for repair and we declined to take them on as clients. Many have engaged in repair and I personally have helped over 3,000 people to achieve "loan ready" credit. But there have been many times when clients, that clearly needed repair, decided to go it alone.

I don’t know of a single one, that went it alone, that was more than marginally satisfied with the results, and most come back to us frustrated and asking for help.       images.jpeg

Credit just takes a ton of time and focus to get things changed and make sure they stay corrected. 

I remember reading a news report about a man who spent three years and seventeen attempts disputing a single inaccurate item on his credit with a single credit bureau, and the entire time, he was providing them with documented proof of the inaccuracy. What should have been a slam dunk, in anyone’s book, took seventeen months!

Now that is an extraordinary expample, but it makes the point well. Just because something seems simple, does not mean it will be easy or work out the way it obviously looks like it should. 

If you want something difficult or complex done well, and in a timely manner, have a professional help you.

When it comes to restoring your credit, that is where a reputable credit repair company like Heartland Credit Restoration comes in.

If you or anyone you know is facing credit challenges and would like so help, Heartland Credit Restoration is a great place to start. Call or email me for a free consultation. 

The same goes for those of you who are realtors or lenders and have clients with credit challenges. Tell them you know a company that is fantastic at helping people get their credit loan ready, so they can realize their dreams a new home.  Ask them if they would offended if you forward their contact info to me. I will be happy to give them a free consultation and see what we can do to get them back to you with loan ready credit.

Please share this with your friends and contacts on social media. I also welcome comments and encourage you to feel free to let me know if you have any questions. In the mean time, I hope you have a wonderfully blessed day!

But I Gave The Car Back Voluntarily

“But I Gave The Car back Voluntarily!”

“I don’t even have the car any more!”

This was the line of reasoning I was receiving from a client that I was working with.

She had an auto and she had gotten behind on payments. When the bank was threatening to repossess the vehicle if she did not start getting caught up on the payments, she voluntarily gave the car to them.

I was discussing with her some ideas and options to trying to get the account settled and maybe deleted.

The challenge here though, was that she didn’t think she should have to pay the debt, since she gave the car back to the bank.

“I understand you feel that way.” I said. “But lets look at it another way. Suppose I borrow $1000 from you, to buy a really cool plaque with a rubber talking fish on it that sings when activated. After buying it, I use it in my “Man Cave” and all my friends love it.”                            images.jpeg


“Now a few months have gone by and I have not paid you back yet. So you get a little frustrated and threaten to take the plaque if I don’t start making payments as agreed. Do you really want the plaque? Or do you want your money?”


“The money.” She responded. “ I wouldn’t want the silly fish thing!”


“Okay.” I said. “So lets say I give it to you voluntarily. Does that change anything?”


“No.” She said.


“Now lets say you have it sitting on your garage and someone sees it and offers to buy it from you cheap. If you sell it, for say $100, would you call it even and I would not owe you any more money?” I asked.


“Not a chance!” she demanded. “You borrowed $1000, you still owe me $900!”


“Exactly,” I replied “that is why the bank says you still owe them. They sold the car at auction and got some back, added the fees they had to pay on top and now, even though you don’t have the car, you still owe them the money.”


I went on to tell her that the remaining balance is not the only thing to consider either. A repossession, voluntary or not, is a huge negative on your credit. It will commonly get in the way of you getting a mortgage for 2-3 years, as well as drop your score as much as 100 points.


If there is any way of avoiding a repossession (short of breaking the law), you want to try it.

Feel free to let me know if you have questions or comments and I hope you have a wonderfully blessed day!