Equifax Canada has implemented changes to its mortgage inquiry process to enhance the protection of consumer information.
The changes, which were first announced to the industry earlier this year, came into effect on September 14, including:
- Requiring all lenders to have an identifying Member Number if they want to continue receiving files from brokers.
- Only brokers who have signed amended contracts will be able to obtain credit files through industry connector platforms, such as Newton and Filogix.
- Each and every inquiry will be posted with both the broker’s and lender’s name when using all industry connector platforms. Access to these files will be restricted to credentialed lenders.
“Essentially, we’ve made these changes for the primary benefit of the consumer,” Roger Mitchell, head of Financial Institutions Strategy & Innovation at Equifax Canada, told CMT. “By ensuring that all credit inquiries are posted to a consumer file, there will be a fuller and more accurate picture of who has access to consumers’ files. We feel doing this will strengthen consumer trust and provide the right level of transparency to consumers.”
Given that the changes were “fairly substantial,” Mitchell noted that Equifax worked hand-in-hand with all of the different stakeholders to ensure a smooth transition.
He added that industry feedback has been very positive. “Everyone understands the reasons why we’re doing this and the feedback and sign ups have been tremendous,” he said.
Benefits to Brokers and Lenders
While the new requirements were designed primarily to provide greater safeguarding and oversight to protect consumers, Mitchell notes there are additional benefits for industry partners.
Lenders benefit from a system that captures all consumer file activity and inquiries, which results in improved insights and analytics.
“We know that improved data accuracy leads to better credit decisions,” Mitchell said.
Brokers will similarly benefit from the access to additional data to help them better understand their client’s credit history. Equifax adds that an Enhanced Broker Credit Report is being launched to help brokers and lenders gain deeper insights into mortgage applicants and to help improve information accuracy.
Brokerages that have not yet signed their amended contracts can do so at the following address: https://www.equifax.ca/BOI/en/form
Lenders that have not yet been credentialed are asked to contact Equifax at firstname.lastname@example.org