Lew Sichelman reports:
That pizza you had delivered the other night could mean the difference between whether you are approved for a mortgage or rejected.
There’s a big stretch between making a house payment and paying for a pizza. But it’s not what you pay for carryout that matters, at least not in the eyes of lenders. It’s where the food was delivered.
Ordering takeout proves that you live where you say you do, and that helps lenders uncover the crook who claims to live in the property he is trying to refinance when he really lives hundreds of miles away. Or expose the 35-year-old who says he has a $1,200-a-month apartment when he really lives rent-free with Mom and Dad.
When you order food online, you become part of a vast database that lenders might tap to help them determine whether you are a good risk. Moreover, all sorts of these data reservoirs exist, and none of them is off-limits to lenders who are coming off the worst financial debacle since the Great Depression.
“If the data is available and it can be obtained legally, I’m going to test it,” says Alex Santos, president of Digital Risk, an Orlando, Fla., analytics firm that works with lenders and investors to build better underwriting mousetraps. “If it is inexpensive and makes my credit model better, I’m going to use it.”
Read more in the Chicago Tribune.