Have you had a bankruptcy discharged? If you are like the vast majority of our post-bankruptcy credit repair customers you still have damaging derogatory information lingering on your credit report. This is not necessary. Once your bankruptcy is behind you it is time to take action. The law and the credit bureaus (believe it or not) are on your side. Take advantage of the opportunity. An intelligent effort will pay significant dividends.
The Post Bankruptcy Cleanup
Most people don’t realize that the derogatory information associated with each of the discharged items can be removed by the credit bureaus upon request. This includes late payments that occurred on the discharged accounts, charge off and collection status notices, and past due balances. This information has an enormous impact on your credit scores. It is your right to have it removed. On the other hand, a public record of your discharged bankruptcy will appear on your report for many years, but has relatively little impact on your credit.
The Life Span of a Bankruptcy
Once you have had a bankruptcy discharged a line item will appear in the Public Records section of your credit report. This single line item will include your filing and discharge dates, and is likely to linger for the full duration allowed by law. This reporting period will vary based on the type of bankruptcy that you elected. The Fair Credit Reporting Act, also known as the FACT Act is the specific law that controls credit reporting (see section 605). The law states that credit reporting agencies must cease reporting of Chapter 7 bankruptcies ten years after the date the bankruptcy case is filed. Chapter 13 bankruptcies are treated differently and must be removed from your credit after 7 years.
The Two Year Effect
This single line item should not concern you! The presence of a bankruptcy on your credit report means little or nothing after two years have elapsed. This might surprise you. Many of the people that we speak to are under the false impression that after a bankruptcy you are destined to have bad credit for many years to come. This should not be the case. If you make the effort to clean up and rebuild your credit after your bankruptcy you should suffer little or no ongoing impact.
Planning for a Mortgage
In the credit repair business we are often contacted by people that would like to get their credit in shape for a potential mortgage application. This is very smart. You do not need any unnecessary derogatory items on your report when you are applying for a mortgage. As a matter of potential interest, Fannie-Mae offers its lowest interest rate mortgage programs to borrowers two years after a bankruptcy discharge (subject to other qualification of course). The real issue that plagues consumers is not the bankruptcy, but the unnecessary lingering derogatory items on the discharged accounts.
Credit Bureaus Can Be Stubborn
In spite of the fact that the credit bureaus are required to comply with a request to remove prior derogatory information they are typically slow to cooperate. A bankruptcy attorney will often submit a request to the bureaus to remove derogatory information. The majority of these requests are ignored or only partially completed. And so, in a terribly large number of cases old information will linger for up to seven years depressing the consumers credit score and making it impossible for them to get credit.
What to Do
Anyone who has attempted credit repair on their own is aware that the experience of dealing with the credit bureaus can be frustrating. An effective post bankruptcy cleanup can be done if you are just a little bit patient. Would you like some advice? I suggest that you keep your communications as terse as possible. Many people succumb to the temptation to tell their story to the credit bureaus. Do not ever, ever, ever include an explanation of your credit issues.
Minimize Your Communication
The people who work for the credit bureaus and process these requests are allowed to disregard your request if they feel that it is frivolous. I know that there would be nothing frivolous about your personal story. But every single extra bit of information that the clerk has to get through before they get to the essential documentation increases the possibility that you will get thrown in the “frivolous” category. Keep your communication to an absolute minimum. They will appreciate it and you will be rewarded with success.