Credit Reports for Mortgages Loans Get an Update

Applying for a home loan? You may want to consider paying off your credit card bill first.

Thanks to a recent change by major credit rating agencies, mortgage lenders can now look at whether you pay off your bill every month or keep a balance. That means home buyers who pay off their credit cards may earn an advantage when looking for a mortgage.

Historically lenders reviewed basic information such as your total debt and whether you were on-time with your payments when deciding whether to make a home loan. But they didn't know whether you were paying off your credit card or other revolving debts in full or carrying a balance month-to-month.

That changed in September, when two of the major credit rating agencies, Equifax and Transunion, began offering what's known as "trending data."

Lenders now have access to a more comprehensive view of a borrower's debt management habits, specifically how much someone paid off each month on those accounts over the past two years. And they may reward those who regularly pay more than the minimum on revolving debts or pay them off in full.

The remaining credit reporting agency, Experian, is also expected to begin offering trending data soon. It is the first time in 30 years that the standard information provided to lenders on credit reports has been updated, according to Equifax.

The change was driven by Fannie Mae, the mortgage giant that guarantees many of the loans in the U.S. It found that all other things being equal, borrowers who paid off their credit card every month were 60 percent less likely to become delinquent than borrowers who make only the monthly minimum payment. As a result, Fannie Mae will now regularly review this information to help improve its risk assessment.

The final decision on who gets the loan still remains with the bank or lender, who can decide whether or not they want to consider this factor.

Experts say that while it's still early in adoption, Fannie Mae's influence over the industry means they expect it to become part of the regular mortgage review process.

Fannie Mae, credit bureaus and other industry experts say they intend to use the additional information to expand the number of loans available, not to penalize those who do carry a balance.

"It's going to benefit someone who is on the border today," said Mindy Armstrong at Fannie Mae.

Consider two people with otherwise equal credit profiles: Jack and Jill. Jack makes the minimum payments each month, while Jill pays her cards off in full. They may both have been "maybes" in the loan officer's mind, but this factor could tip Jill into the approved pile.

"It's just one factor of the risk assessment," Armstrong said. "These are all things you can do put yourself in a better position."

Your credit score and credit worthiness will ultimately be determined by many other factors — most importantly whether you pay your bills on time and how much of your available credit you use. So paying down debts more aggressively may have an added bonus of improving your utilization rate, and thereby your credit score too.

Donald Trump said that he expects to win the key battleground states of Ohio, Florida and North Carolina -- victories he says will help push his campaign over the finish line.

"I think I'm gonna win," Trump told ABC News on Wednesday.

Trump and his family gave their take on the final stretch of the presidential race in an exclusive interview with ABC News' George Stephanopoulos in their new hotel in Washington, D.C.

Melania Trump, who has mostly stayed off the campaign trail, remaining at home with the couple's young son Barron, said that she might be a more frequent presence in the last 12 days. Donald Trump said that she may make two or three speeches in the coming days.

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"I support him 100 percent and I'm there or him every time he needs me," she said.

Her advice for her husband was to "just keep fighting hard as he did for the last year and a half."

Donald Trump said that he intends to spend heavily in the final days of the campaign. The real-estate mogul said he is prepared to pour in $100 million of his own cash on the campaign by Election Day.

When Stephanopoulos noted that Trump has spent $56 million so far on his campaign, the Republican presidential nominee said, "Well, no, it's $61 million. But I'm spending a lot of money. And that doesn't include everything. I'm spending a lot of money.”

Watch the full interview, including a tour of the presidential suite at the new Trump hotel, in the video above.

Donald Trump went on the offensive against a military expert and former dean of the Army War College, Jeff McCausland, who said the Republican nominee’s comments this weekend about the battle to reclaim Mosul in Iraq show he doesn’t have a firm grasp of military strategy.

“You can tell your military expert that I’ll sit down and I’ll teach him a couple of things,” Trump told ABC’s George Stephanopoulos in an exclusive interview.

On Sunday, Trump tweeted that the ongoing offensive against the ISIS stronghold of Mosul is turning out to be a “total disaster.”

“We gave them months of notice. U.S. is looking so dumb. VOTE TRUMP and WIN AGAIN!” he tweeted.

Trump doubled down on his assertion that the element of surprise is an important military strategy.

“I’ve been hearing about Mosul now for three months. ‘We’re going to attack. We’re going to attack.’ Meaning Iraq’s going to attack but with us. OK? We’re going to attack. Why do they have to talk about it?” he asked Stephanopoulos.

“Element of surprise. One of the reasons they wanted Mosul, they wanted to get ISIS leaders who they thought were, you know, in Mosul. Those people have all left. As soon as they heard they’re going to be attacked, they left,” Trump added. “The resistance is much greater now because they knew about the attack. Why can’t they win first and talk later?”

But according to The New York Times, some military experts disagree with Trump’s claims that the element of surprise is crucial to win the fight against ISIS.

“What this shows is Trump doesn’t know a damn thing about military strategy,” McCausland told the Times.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter is on the ground in Iraq and told ABC’s Martha Raddatz in an interview earlier this week that he’s “encouraged” by the progress in the fight against ISIS because it “is going according to plan ... ISIL will surely be destroyed.”

Trump blamed Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and President Barack Obama for the need to reclaim Mosul.

“We had Mosul. We have to take it because Hillary Clinton and Obama left that big vacuum, and ISIS went in, and they took Mosul,” he said.
Donald Trump today blasted his critics for complaining that he is tending to business matters rather than his presidential campaign, arguing that Hillary Clinton takes time off the trail for less important matters.

“I built one of the great hotels of the world. What am I supposed to do, not show up? I’m taking one hour off. I’m going to North Carolina right after this, then I’m going back down to Florida. I’m going up to New Hampshire. I’m all over the place,” Trump said in an exclusive interview with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos from inside his new Washington, D.C., hotel. “I can’t take one hour off to cut a ribbon at a one of the great hotels of the world? I mean, I think I’m entitled to it.”

The Republican presidential candidate blasted Clinton for taking Tuesday night off to go to an Adele concert.

“I think it’s so unfair because, you know, Hillary Clinton goes to see an Adele concert last night, and everybody says, ‘Oh, wasn’t that nice, isn’t that wonderful?’” Trump said.

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“She goes, she does one stop,” Trump told ABC News today, which is Clinton’s 69th birthday. “She has no energy. She’s got nothing going. She does one stop. And nobody complains about that. Nobody complains when she goes to an Adele concert all night long, while I’m making two speeches at rallies with, you know, massive crowds.”

Trump has repeatedly criticized what he calls Clinton’s lack of stamina, citing her decision to take five days off the campaign trail before the last of their three presidential debates. She has argued that the preparation last week for her final major national audience before Election Day was time well spent.

Trump spent the morning in Washington to attend the grand opening of his brand’s latest hotel. The hotel, which is in the city’s Old Post Office building, had a soft launch last month.

That “I built this hotel under budget and ahead of schedule … sends a real message,” he said.

But the hotel hasn’t been without controversy. Famed chef Jose Andres had been set to run one of the hotel’s restaurants, but he backed out of the project after Trump said last year that some Mexicans entering the U.S. are “bringing drugs, they’re bringing crime, they’re rapists.”

Firefighters performed a dramatic rescue dozens of feet above the ground, pulling a man from the window of a burning building in New York City's Upper East Side.

The New York Fire Department responded to the six-alarm blaze the started around 3:30 a.m. on Thursday, reports WABC, a local affiliate. The fire quickly ripped through all five floors of an apartment building and burst through the roof, killing one person and leaving another in critical condition. Two other people and two firefighters reported minor injuries.

Witnesses saw a heroic rescue as a firefighter was lowered down by rope from the burning building's roof to rescue a man hanging out of a 5th floor window.

“You couldn’t see anything over the edge, there was so much smoke and flames going out the window,” Jim Lee, of the FDNY's Rescue 1 unit, later told WABC.

Lee pulled the man from the window and held on as they were both lowered safely to the ground.

“I told him to stay calm and when we got down, I said, 'hope you enjoyed the ride.' he sort of smiled and he was thankful,” Lee said.

The man suffered serious burns and was rushed to New York Presbyterian Hospital – Cornell in critical condition, WABC reported.

“The chief told me he was in critical condition, but he was able to talk to me,” Lee said of the rescued man.

After they got to the ground, the rope they had been hanging from broke, the result of flames shooting out the building's windows.

“This is the type of rescue that is really extraordinary,” FDNY Chief of Department James Leonard told WABC.

“He really put his life at risk. It doesn’t happen that often in this department, maybe once every couple years, that we have a member who puts his life in this position and save a life because of their teamwork, their training and their bravery.”

This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates.

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