When you’re looking to make a loan, you have to be able to present a trustworthy front for the lender. This is why improving your fundability has to be a top priority. Merrill Chandler, a personal and business credit pioneer and the Founder of the Credit Sense, sits down with Juliet Clark to talk about fundability and the various ways in which you can protect your financial reputation. There are so many ways you could possibly be blowing your fundability, and this could affect your ability to make loans in the future. Learn from this episode how you can keep yourself protected and fundable in today’s financial landscape.
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Setting Yourself Up To Be Fundable With Merrill Chandler
We have an interesting guest on the show. It is a little different though. We’re going to have somebody on that I’m going to introduce to you guys that you probably aren’t aware is even a thing out there and it’s a good thing. Merrill Chandler for over many years has been a personal and business credit pioneer and a Co-Founder of the Lexington Law Firm. When he co-founded it, he became dissatisfied with the ineffective results of credit repair. He was leveraging his extensive knowledge of credit profiles and lender underwriting requirements. In this process, he developed how he could optimize personal and business credit profiles and improve borrower’s fundability.
He founded CreditSense to deliver this revolutionary technology to real estate investors, business owners and entrepreneurs nationwide. Merrill has helped thousands of borrowers become more fundable and help them access the capital they need to fulfill their financial dreams. In 2016, he and his executive team met with FICO’s CEO, Will Lansing to review the impact of CreditSense’s optimization technology was having on borrower fundability. As a result of that meeting, he was authorized to meet with the personal and business FICO score development team. After signing an NDA, Merrill was able to ask the questions that he wanted to ask FICO developers. He asked a hundred optimization questions to better help him help his borrowers accomplish their funding goals.
What he shares in his presentations and web classes will radically transform what you believe about funding and your ability to get the funding you need to accomplish your funding goals. Through superior client relationships, Merrill and his team have maintained an A-plus Better Business Bureau rating for many years. He is a compelling and knowledgeable keynote speaker and has addressed real estate investment conferences and business forums around the country where he’s delivered his popular fundability optimization technology. He’s also adventurous and passionate and is into extreme sports and exploring the world. Merrill, welcome.
I am happy to be here. First of all, that was a great intro. Whoever this guy is, I love him already.
Didn’t you write that?
I have great marketing teams. All of it is true and not just true, but so much fun. That’s why we’re here, to discuss this whole world of what is fundability and how do we access the resources and financing we need for our businesses.
This sounds like such a different topic because people think, “I want an 800 credit score. If I apply for something business-wise, I should be able to get anything I want,” and then they don’t. Explain a little bit about what fundability is and why it’s important.
It is the injury to the insult because we’ve been trained our whole lives to think of good credit and bad credit. I’ve got good credit. I got bad credit. I got a high score. I got a low score, but nobody talks about fundability. Fundability is the condition of being in a position where a lender is eager to give you money. There are many things that are in the way for a lender to be eager to do so. I don’t care about credit scores. Credit score will measure certain things, but most people don’t even understand that a credit score is third or fourth in line when it comes to approving you.
We have clients all the time that come to us with 800-plus credit scores. They can’t get a dime in funding and they don’t realize that no one on the planet has ever been approved because of their credit score. Credit score is in charge of the limit or the loan amount. It’s in charge of the rates and terms, but it has never approved you ever. The lender underwriting software’s approved you. Fundability is doing the dance of making you look like so that a lender is eager to lend to you. It’s what we call a funding-ready credit profile.
I bet most people don’t realize that it’s a software that’s determining all this. They’re probably thinking, some guy is sitting in a cubicle going, “I don’t like her name. She’s not getting it.”
I used to ask the question, “Has anybody ever met an underwriter in the wild?” They’re on the endangered species list because automatic underwriting systems are replacing those people in the cubicle who are looking at whether or not to approve you. These underwriting systems like this whole brouhaha of the Apple credit card with an organization. They’re in the news about bias in lending and the algorithms are biased going against you. Everything is moving to software approvals.People have to study and know what lenders are looking for. Click To Tweet
Here’s the secret, Juliet. For 500 years, lenders have required proof documents. We call it full documentation. They want your taxes, income statements, W-2s and everything. That full documentation is required because they want to prove everything you put on your application because they don’t believe you. They don’t trust you so they want proof. Over the last several years, more and more of what we call the authority to approve an application has moved to software. My whole mission is if the software is following rules to approve you, if you know what those rules are, if you know the behaviors you need to have, then who is in charge of your approvals? It’s the borrowers.
That’s interesting when you say that bias. For you guys who don’t know, I am working with Merrill because I’ve decided that I want to get stuff off my personal credit cards. One of the biases I would imagine the software has with women is our name change. I was stunned to see on my credit reports that I have eleven different ways my name appears between married name, first name, middle name, maiden name. It’s incredible and that’s all part of the matchup, isn’t it?
Yes, and the thing is while the software is designed to collate all those, we’re now data points. We’re literally the Credit Bureau and FICO’s data. You have eleven of them. Before I knew what I was doing, I was filing credit applications under Merrill Chandler, Merrill R. Chandler and Merrill Ray Chandler. Those are all three different identity data sets. They don’t know who they’re lending to. You can be denied because they don’t know exactly the borrower that they’re lending money to. If you have too many versions of your name and you have too many addresses and real estate investors have this all the time. The people who buy rental properties, all these mortgages are in their names currently. It looks like they’re living at this same address at every single property. All of these things come into sway when the lender software is evaluating you. Unless you know the rules of that game, you’re going to either be rejected or you’re going to get lower limits, lower approvals because they don’t know exactly who they’re lending to and therefore they want to give you a test limit instead of a $50,000 business line of credit to help you grow your business.
A few more credit profile identities and I could be civil.
We call it the credit identity crisis, the multiple identities of credit.
We were just talking about aging so maybe it’s time that I went through that.
The whole idea is to present to this lending software a perfect identity, a perfect set of behaviors that reinforces all the things that make a lender feel safe. All of those have been coded into their software. If I can make the lender look at my borrower behaviors and go, “Yes, that’s awesome,” then they will lend to me. What everybody tends to forget is that lenders only make money when they lend. They’re trying to lend safely. If we facilitate that process, they’re going to give us tons of money and my clients and students can bear witness to that.
Tell us a little bit about your background and what makes you uniquely qualified to coach us on this.
I co-founded Lexington Law Firm in 1992. For those who have a friend who’s done credit repairs, it’s the single largest credit repair law firm in the country. While I was there, I discovered that you can’t repair your weight to fundability, to approvals. There was this period in my life where I have a rare opportunity to do nothing but study. As I studied, I discovered how optimization of a profile is different than repairing a credit report and then I was off to the races. We find out who we are by who we’re not many times. We start out, “I’m not that and I’m not that.” I found out that to get approval, it’s not credit repair. The same thing happened. As I grew this, more and more clients had more and more successes. I got to meet with the FICO team in 2016 and I got back for my third set of meetings at FICO World where I met once again with the CEO, Will Lansing at FICO. I met with the other vice presidents of scoring and analytics so that I can know what borrower behaviors are going to improve your chances for approvals. That’s the bottom line. I know what the secret sauce is to get people approved and you’re going through that process.
I used to solve high-end real estate many years ago and sometimes we would want preapproval and there would be a situation where a lender would come in and say, “You have to pay this and this,” or “You have to get this off your report.” There was a lot of on the spot credit repair going on and then they can pull that instant once it’s taken care of. What’s the difference between that and fundability?
Credit repair is the process of writing dispute letters to the credit bureaus in the hopes that something is removed and that your score goes up. It’s write a letter, hope something comes off and your score improves. The problem is that the score is the third or fourth most important thing. You can have a great score but not get money because you don’t have the right kind of profile. You have too many inquiries. We call it the things that make you unfundable. It’s fundable versus unfundable. You can have too young of a credit profile. You can have too many inquiries. You can have too high balances. You can have the wrong types of product or too many consumer-type accounts like mall store and retails stores, which FICO counts against. Don’t go close to any of them because you’ll take a hit on your profile.
The idea is that fundability is when a lender software reviews your profile and goes the way they treat their lenders’ money. The way they behave is safe. I want to lend them money. There’s this period where FICO measures 40 characteristics over 24 months in intervals of 3, 6, 12 and 24 months. That’s a load of data. It’s 40 behaviors over 24 months in four different increments. They know how we treat money. If we’re carrying a balance for six months, their math can do that evaluation. If that’s too high of a balance that they’re carrying, they’re not going to approve us, but if we carry the right balance, then they’d be like, “They’re a great borrower. They know how to treat lenders money. I want to lend to them too.”
The thing is for your audience, entrepreneurs, business owners, etc., we want to treat our personal credit well because what people don’t know is their business credit is based on your personal reputation. Most people have been led to believe the business credit is about your business and it’s not. People believe that the approvals are based on your income like your tax bottom line when it’s not. It’s the top line of your business. It’s total sales, not what you may because as Americans it’s in our blood to reduce our taxes as much as possible. People don’t know what lenders are looking for and that’s why my Get Fundable war cry is designed to teach people what the rules of the game are because you can’t win a game if you don’t know the rules.
I went back and verified a lot of this stuff before I got your program. What struck me the most about your bootcamp was how much of a swing you can have between credit bureaus. People don’t even realize that and you never know when you apply for something, which one they’re going to use. I don’t have that big of a swing, but you were saying some people can have a 60-point swing between bureaus.
What people don’t know is the difference between your credit bureau scores, the highest and lowest, that range, if it’s over twenty points, you’re most likely going to be tossed to manual underwriting. You don’t want human beings looking at your loan. It slows it down and they lower your approval amounts. We want to stay in automatic underwriting. We want to hit those under underwriting triggers. What people don’t know is that there are three versions of software and each bank has different uses of that software. When you go to a bank for a car loan, you don’t know if they’re pulling FICO 542 or FICO 8 or FICO 9 and you don’t know what bureau they’re pulling, Experian, TransUnion or Equifax. You take a Credit Karma score to them, which is one score and all of a sudden you’re like, “Why is my score twenty points different than everything else and why didn’t you approve me? Why didn’t I get the best interest rate possible?” There’s nothing but confusion, frustration, and anxiety about all of this stuff because we’re bumbling around in the dark.
How do you help people qualify for funding?
Several years ago, it was only high net worth individuals that I was coaching. I reserved all this. We had coaching packages from $5,000 to $25,000. I didn’t have anything to help anybody know anything unless you’re becoming our client. Through sometimes very aggressive persuasion, I needed to write my book, which I completed. It’s going to press. I wrote a book. I covered the cost of the book and then people just pay for shipping. It’s a great little partnership and then you can see what the principles are of fundability. They can listen to your podcast. They can listen to my podcast and find out a little bit more. There is not a lot of heavy investment in those options. Like you, you went to a bootcamp and you’re like, “Why didn’t I know this stuff decades ago?” My commitment to borrowers across the country was to have something for everyone. Something at every trust level and every price point.
Someone could just dip their toes in the water and see, “I’m digging this,” and then you go to the bootcamp. Coaching is still available, but I don’t even let anybody get coaching that hasn’t been to the bootcamp because you need to know what you need to know to get the funding. That’s how we help people become fundable. We get to educate them and get them to stop stepping on the funding landmines. That’s the first one. Stop blowing yourself up and then learn the principles that you need to implement on identity, on the quality of your credit profile, on the right limits and balances, and all those things. The book, the podcast and the bootcamp all provide that. If somebody wants coaching, then we got you covered, but now I have something for everybody.
I went through the bootcamp and I thought, “I can do this.” I signed up for the coaching because I have a job and I have a business but more than anything I have business credit. Because of using my business on my personal credit cards, the business loan I got was a bad loan. I’m looking back at, “This is the way I can get all that cleaned up and get a better business loan and get all of this stuff off my personal credit as a business owner.”
You have to be fundable for all the reasons because less than perfect credit is not the only reason. There are a least eight reasons that you will be turned down. That’s what makes you unfundable. This bootcamp, I keep telling people. I have dozens of clients who have 800-plus credit scores and still have a negative account on their credit profile and people don’t believe me. My team did the research. I’m putting them up on slides for the next bootcamp. I’ve got four examples of people who have 800-plus scores and derogatory who’ve taken down financing. Because you could be fundable, you just got to know what the rules are. It’s so fascinating to me. People think, “I have a bad credit score or I have a good credit score.” You don’t know why you have it because you’re not looking at it the way the lender underwriting software looks at it.
Even for me, I have personal credit cards that I use for business and personal that I use for personal. The way that I pay the business ones always makes it look like I have a huge balance. It makes it look worse.
Now you’ve learned. We know how to manage our personal profile so all the lenders look at us and go, “These guys are superstars.” We know how to build and keep those things on the business that don’t report to the personal so you have a little funding engine over here on your personal. It’s just churning away and then we carry our balances and do our things on the business side. It’s all magic. A flashlight to the medieval world looks like magic, but it’s not. It’s science we’re not aware of yet. That’s what these funding algorithms are and I’m the Merlin The Magician who’s saying, “It’s not magic. We just got to know how it works.”Fundability is the condition of being in a position where a lender is eager to give you money. Click To Tweet
Do you spend time with FICO’s CEO Will Lansing?
Yes, twice. I got to meet with them again and we took pictures because I didn’t have a lot of pictures from the first time we met. He remembered me. The topic of our conversation was what is your borrower education strategy? First of all, they’re thrilled that we’re training borrowers, but they’re a little embarrassed that they don’t have a borrower education strategy. Lenders don’t have a borrower education strategy. Their complete and utter education piece is pay your bills on time. If you’re late, make it up and then wait seven years. That is their education. You saw a two-day bootcamp that doesn’t even cover a tenth of the principles of fundability and yet I’m going this level of energy and flow of information for sixteen hours.
It’s crazy what we can be educated on. Mr. Lansing told me that the MyFICO.com credit boards is the only consumer and borrower education that they have. There is not a single contributor on the FICO credit boards that is an employee of FICO that’s in an official capacity to train and answer questions, not one. He received it well. I talked to Mr. Lansing about that and I said, “We want to do whatever we can to provide the borrower education. That’s why we keep coming back here so that we can keep dialed in.” We’re the only borrower-facing organization that goes to FICO. Everybody else are lenders and underwriters.
You have a very popular group over on Facebook. Can anybody be a member?
Funding Hackers is our private Facebook group and this is white hat funding hacking. This is not black hat. We’re not trying to crash the systems. Hack to us is an insider secret. It’s something that if you had my background and connected all the dots that I did, you would know the same stuff I do. It’s not hidden but I do the research at FICO. I go talk to the score development teams. I ask them questions. I signed an NDA so that they could entrust me with certain key points that will help borrowers become more fundable because they love the fact that we help borrowers become more fundable.
That’s why we keep getting to go back. They could ban us. If we weren’t doing something in their benefit, we would have been told to not go. Funding Hackers Facebook group is for everybody who has attended the bootcamp. It’s our little enclave of people who are committed to becoming fundable. The way you join is you register for the bootcamp and there are three levels of registration. Two of them allow you access to the bootcamp for as long as you want to be a member.
How do we find your page to sign up for your bootcamp?
Our page is You.GetFundable.com. At the top, there’s a five-minute webinar. That’s me giving you an outline of what you get at the bootcamp. If you scroll down a little further, there’s an hour and change full-blown. I reveal the three secrets of fundability. I talk about the bootcamp in-depth and all the things you get. Plus, there are tons of information. Our testimonials are crazy. We have dozens of amazing people who attended and they are like, “Are you kidding me? This was the greatest thing since sliced bread.” You can see all of those on the website.
I have a money-back guarantee that says if you attended the first day and you are not blown away, not just like, “That was cool.” If you are not blown away, I will give you your money back. I don’t let you go to the second day, but I will give you your money back if you do not believe that it was worth ten times every penny that you paid. Our event specials is $97. It goes all the way to $500 depending on all the different benefits, recordings and special time with me. There are various levels of ticket registrations, but whatever one you grab, it’s worth every penny with how much we cover and you get a 200-page workbook.
Speaking of books, you have a book coming out soon.
It’s called The New F*Word. I’m meeting with my team to review the chapter titles. I wrote them down because I’m going through the book. It’s 195 pages and I’m going back and forth. I need to be able to see the content. It’s the scientific version of the title. We’re going through and titling them so that it’s fun and easy to remember for the reader. That’s done. I’m so happy with it. I’m pleased. It’s called The New F*Word. You can go to GetFundable.com and click the bootcamp if you want information there. Click on the Merrill’s Book and check it out. It’s free to you. I’m not charging you a dime. If you’ll just cover the shipping, then we will get a bunch for Christmas once you see it. I was told a long time ago, “It’s not arrogant if it’s true.” I have spent an entire year, every single weekend imbuing this book with the things you need to know on how this game is played.
I can tell you Merrill doesn’t sleep because he emails me at 5:00 in the morning. I felt guilty that I slept until 6:15.
Weekends are my most fun. If you find something that you love and make a vocation of it, you will never work a day in your life. That’s me. I love this stuff. Working on a weekend is not a thing for me. I don’t go all day, but I’m certainly up super early because nobody’s bugging me. I don’t have to answer. I don’t have to talk to a soul. I’m just there with my coffee, my music and I’ve get to rage on all my projects. This book has been the project that has taken up every moment of my time, just because I wanted to make it. It stood on its own, start to finish. It’s like drop the mic and mission accomplished.
Thank you very much. This has been great. We know where to find you. I would recommend you sign up for that next bootcamp and get the book. We should have the book published soon.
I’m excited, but you can pre-order it. Everybody who pre-orders, I get to sign them all off and make sure that you guys have everything. It’s a personal invitation to enjoy it.
Thank you, Merrill.
Thank you so much for having me on. You have an amazing hostess, an amazing woman. Thank you, Juliet, for everything. I want to see you at the next bootcamp because your life will never be the same.
- Lexington Law Firm
- CreditSense – Facebook
- Funding Hackers – Facebook Group
- The New F*Word
About Merrill Chandler
Over 25 years ago, Merrill Chandler—a personal and business credit pioneer and co-founder of Lexington Law Firm—became dissatisfied with the ineffective results of credit repair. Leveraging his extensive knowledge of credit profiles and lender underwriting requirements, he developed a process that could ‘optimize’ personal and business credit profiles AND improve a borrower’s “fundability.”
He founded CreditSense to deliver this revolutionary technology to real estate investors, business owners, and entrepreneurs nationwide. Merrill has helped thousands of borrowers become more FUNDABLE and help them access the capital they need to fulfill their financial dreams.
In 2016 he and his executive team met with FICO® CEO Will Lansing to review the impact CreditSense optimization technology was having on borrower fundability. As a result of that meeting, Merrill was authorized to meet with the personal and business FICO® score development teams. After signing an NDA, Merrill was able to ask the FICO® developers 100 optimization questions to better his ability to help borrowers accomplish their funding goals.
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