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Woman Denied Mortgage Because She Was “Dead”

By Faye Mergel
Published: Thursday, November 26th, 2009

A Seattle woman was denied a mortgage loan because she was listed dead when a  creditor checked her credit report. Ironically, the 78-year old grandmother only recently survived a battle that nearly took her life.

Woman Denied Mortgage Because She Was “Dead”Anne Howe just experienced one of the saddest moments in her life when the man she has been married with for 55 years has died in his sleep few months ago. The last thing she would want is another stressor.

After her husband’s death, a doctor gave a wrong diagnosis for a lump in her forehead. They eventually found out that it was cancer. Days after the cancer surgery was successfully performed, doctors found out that Howe needed another surgery. This time, they had to cut her heart open. She barely survived the operation.

After recovery, she thought she needed to find a way to have a lower mortgage payment. Refinancing her mortgage is the best way to do so. Everything was going fine when she started her application.

Two of the three major credit reporting agencies revealed that her credit score was near 800. But her credit report with Experian had a problem.

One of Howe’s former lenders had reported that she was dead, that is why her Experian credit report showed that she was deceased.

Correcting the error did not prove to be that easy. It took the full-time effort of her daughter in California who had to send bulks of letters, notarized explanations, and faxes. She even had to do several long distance calls. She had to do the same thing for months, but to no avail.

The daughter, Julie Kerr, said everyone knows that her mother is alive, but the creditor would not work with the application unless they are able to provide an Experian credit report.

The bank where Howe is applying for loan acknowledges that she is not dead but they would not grant her a loan unless changes are made on her credit report.

Kerr was told that correcting the error would take 30 to 45 days. But they could not wait that long because Howe’s loan lock would have expired by that period.

The daughter knew that there is still something she could to help her mother. She contacted an ABC affiliate based in San Francisco and the error was corrected within 24 hours.

The creditor acknowledged his mistake and the error was removed from the credit report. Howe finally got her loan and the good interest she deserves, but she remains furious. She said nobody had to go through the troubles she had been.

Specialists advise consumers not to wait until they need credit before checking their credit report.

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