Mortgage Broker Told Me To Open Up A Bunch Of Credit Cards, Should I?

One of our readers is looking to buy a house and his mortgage broker suggested that he open up about four credit cards to establish some credit history. Should he?

Hi Consumerist,

I’m hoping you can help me with this. I’m 25 years old and currently in the market to buy my first home. I have a steady job with a decent salary. I have a fair amount of cash saved up for a down payment, enough that I estimate my final top end price tag to be about $250,000 assuming a 20% down payment on a conventional 30-year mortgage.

The quandary I am in is that I have very little credit history beyond my primary bank’s Visa. I was raised to be very fiscally responsible and to not buy anything I could not immediately afford. My credit score is over 800 (I forget the exact value). I finished college without needing to take out any loans (in fact, I had money left over) and I’ve never had a need for more than the one credit card I mention. As a result, I have a distinct lack of lines of credit that would indicate or otherwise “prove” to lenders that I can handle a mortgage (an unfortunate side effect of the housing market crash).

As the housing market and interest rates have pretty much hit bargain basement levels, I’m hoping to find something before the market rebounds back to less-friendly levels (especially in the locations where I am looking to buy). A family friend was kind enough to offer her assistance as a real estate agent, and so far has been very helpful. She recommended/referred me to a loan officer/mortgage broker she has worked with in the past and trusts, in an effort to assist me on the pre-approval process. She also advised I try to get pre-approved through normal channels as well (i.e. talking to my primary bank, a credit union, other banks, etc.). However, when I went to my primary bank’s home loan department, they said I would only qualify for an FHA loan as I did not have sufficient credit history to warrant a conventional one. I have not yet had a chance to approach a credit union or other bank regarding this, it’s still on my ‘to-do’ list.

I have been working with this loan officer for about a month now, and he recently recommended to me that I open 4(!) more credit cards with various institutions (gas card, department store, other banks, etc.), put some small balance on each of them, then pay them off ASAP. He said it would take about a month for the new credit lines to appear on my credit report, at which point he would re-run his magical software and supposedly it would give me more and better options as far as my loan pre-approvals go.

My question is – is this true? Is that even a good idea? I think Consumerist has mentioned that opening new credit cards can actually lower your credit score. Friends and family who relate their own real estate experiences keep telling me that my large down payment should qualify me for a very good 30-year conventional loan even though I don’t have much credit history. But I understand the market is incredibly cautious nowadays, and I don’t know what dictates how loan terms are made, bent, broken, or otherwise enforced.

Any suggestions, advice, or additional thoughts would be most welcome for this wannabe-homeowner n00b.

- Daniel

Hey Dan, congrats on your house-hunt and fiscal responsibility.

UPDATE: A far better idea has been suggested by wiser readers, which is to ask the loan officer to “manually” underwrite the loan. This considers your credit worthiness without taking credit history into account. If your score is over 800 and you have the big downpayment, you shouldn’t have a problem qualifying. If he gives you static, find another guy.

Opening up four credit cards at once will harm your credit score in the immediate period, and since you’re looking to buy a house pronto, you’re better off not taking the hit.

While your frugal ways have given you a hefty nut as a down payment, which is most excellent and the hardest part of the home buying process, they have also left you without much in the way of credit history. Your loan officer is absolutely right, you do need to establish some of that history to help you qualify for a mortgage. Right now you’re a blank slate, and banks don’t like that.

Opening a few credit cards and making some quick purchases and paying them off is the right move here. You may experience a small temporary ding on your score as the creditors will have to do hard credit inquiries, but it will go away soon. Not having any credit history at all is going to hurt your credit worthiness a lot more in the long run that just opening up a few cards.

If you can then lock them away and not use them and go back to your saving up for stuff and paying for it cash system, which should be no problem for a disciplined fellow like you, you’re golden.

Comments

Edit Your Comment

  1. Caffinehog says:

    Provided you can put 20% down, you shouldn’t have trouble getting a mortgage with no credit history. The rate might be a bit higher, though. However, after a few months of mortgage and utility payments, you will have a credit history, and you should be able to refinance at a lower rate.

    • DariusC says:

      I would give it at least a year before refinancing. I tried to refi my car and the bank said they wanted at least a year before they would refi even though I had a car before that one. Refinancing is a privledge? I guess so!

      • mac-phisto says:

        my credit union wants at least 6 months before we’ll refi a car loan, but it has nothing to do with the borrower & EVERYTHING to do with the DMV (& other banks). titles tend to get lost easy on quick refis because the DMV title division takes so long to process everything. we learned our lesson after we spent countless hours chasing after lost titles a few years back.

    • Caffiend says:

      You and me outside. I’m settling this name thing once and for all.

      /I kid. But my caffine consumption is legendary.

    • Daemon Xar says:

      Except you usually pay a large fee when refinancing, and a lot of mortgages now have prepayment penalties . . .

      • mac-phisto says:

        great info – make sure there’s no prepay & closing costs should definitely be considered, but it can make sense if you can drop your rate significantly. 30YR fixed at my CU is 4.375% right now w/ about $3000 in closing costs. if you’re looking at a rate above 5 or 6, refinancing will DEFINITELY save you money & you’ll typically make back the closing costs in less than 2 years.

        but watch out for prepays.

      • hansolo247 says:

        Any mortgage worth getting doesn’t.

        a prepayment penalty usually means you are in a high-cost-relative-to-the-competition loan.

  2. TuxthePenguin says:

    Bull crap. If your mortgage broker tells you to do that, tell him that you’d like him to go through the process of qualifying you for a loan without your FICO score.

    You know, how banks used to actually do it.

    If you can qualify for the note with every other financial metric except the FICO score, tell them to screw off if they won’t give you the note.

    • j_gets says:

      I absolutely agree. Ask for traditional manual underwriting- they may balk because it involves more work/expense on their end.

      I’d recommend a look at Churchill Mortgage as well.

      • photoguy622 says:

        Dave Ramsey FTW!

      • j_gets says:

        Also, since we’re talking about a mortgage broker specifically, educate yourself on YSP.

        YSP is basically money a mortgage broker gets from a bank/investor for sticking you with a higher interest rate than that for which you would otherwise qualify. It may be better to negotiate a flat fee for the broker’s services than pay an extra .25% or whatever their extra margin added is over the life of the loan.

        • frank64 says:

          The banks have YSP, they just call it something else, and they do not have to disclose it like the brokers. YSP is not as nefarious as it sounds and it can be a tool to pay for some costs.

          You are better off shopping around for the best rate and point combo. Taking into account how long you will be staying in the home.

  3. zombiedictator says:

    If your FICO score is over 800, how could you get a better rate? 800+ is the best score, and they aren’t giving 0% interest loans for 840+. Are you sure it is your FICO score and not some bullcrap like an Equifax score which is measured on a much larger scale?

    • qbubbles says:

      Read. The. Post.

      • sarahhope82 says:

        Yes, he says his credit score is over 800, but he does not say what model. Over 800 FICO score is excellent and should not hold someone back from getting a mortgage. I would be surpised if someone had over an 800 FICO score with only one credit card that s/he has had for a few years. I think either he is misremembering his FICO score or what he checked was his VantageScore, which goes up to 990.

        • hansolo247 says:

          Heck, even a FICO of 750+ is enough.

          There may be some benefit at 800+ but it really isn’t much if it’s even there.

    • DanRydell says:

      There is absolutely no way he has a FICO score over 800 based on what he says. That score they gave him was probably on a 950 scale (or higher).

  4. Peer to Peer Nachos says:

    I was in the same position a couple years back. Wanted to buy a house, had no credit history. What they told me then was that you need at the very least one piece of revolving credit and one lump sum credit. Cards fit the revolving goal but you might want to look into a small 6 or 12 month loan to help with the lump sum.

    Unfortunately that’s going to end up costing money. When we did it we borrowed X and dropped it into a CD for the length of the loan to offset the interest.

    You could see the week that my credit history started existing (maybe 6 months after I took out the loan) because suddenly I was deluged with credit card applications where before I was hard pressed to qualify for an generic card.

    • SkokieGuy says:

      You are not in the same position. You had no credit history, the OP has an extraordinary FICO of over 800.

      • JMILLER says:

        Actually there is nothing to suggest he has a FICO score over 800. He said credit score, which does not equate to FICO.

  5. wrjohnston91283 says:

    I would check other lending venues prior to opening a bunch of unneeded accounts. Opening more accounts will lower your score at first, but I doubt its going to do much in the long run to raise the score itself (you’re over 800 already).

    Strictly from a underwriting perspective, it doesn’t really show anything of value regarding your risk if you have four new credit lines open for 1 month that you’ve paid off in full. Maybe after 6-12 months of actively using these accounts, it might help, since that has established a true history, rather than a single 1 month data point.

    • bhr says:

      hes not really over 800 if he has no open credit lines, no loans or any other history. When a broker “pulls” they are pulling an aggregate score from all three agencies, and if they don’t pop a score then it makes it very hard to get a loan.

      Ideally you want 12 months of history on more then 1 line to qualify for the best rates.

      • chiieddy says:

        He says he has one open line. This leads me to believe he has a valid 800+ score. He just doesn’t have any debt on his account. He has available credit just no debt.

        He should pull his credit report and confirm what is and what is not on there.

  6. florsie says:

    I understand Daniel, I’m having a hard time getting a credit card with a decent credit line. My mother gave a me a while ago an extension of her AMEX card but I paid for whatever I used. Now my mom is leaving the country, she will cancel her AMEX account here and opening another in the US. AMEX won’t give me a card even if I got another credit card and 2 credit cards for department stores and even if my credit history is pretty good.

    • mac-phisto says:

      so why don’t you find a different company? AMEX is notorious for being one of the most difficult cards to obtain – i’d recommend finding a company that markets specifically to people without significant credit history. capital one, orchard bank come to mind. barclay’s bankcard seems to be pretty aggressive with their recent acquisition of credit portfolios – they might be worth a shot.

      • erinpac says:

        Actually AmEx has been the only company I found that would give me a decent card on little history – one of the Blue Cash ones too, so at least some reward and no annual fee.

        The other major ones all said no.

    • Extractor says:

      Sign up with costco executive membership, comes with free Amex card. Had it for years along with 10 other credit cards whos balances are paid off each month. In fact you may wind up enjoying the rewards from credit cards although they are not as generous as before the bank bailouts.

  7. Mike says:

    This person has come upon a simple truth: Your Credit rating is not a measurement of your financial maturity per se, it is a measure of your ability to take on debt then pay off debt. So you can make lots of money, but if you haven’t shown your ability to pay off debt then your score will not reflect your ability to pay off debt.

    What helps your score is having available credit. So if you have $10,000 in available credit, but only have an average balance of about $500, then it appears that you have $9500 of available credit and bumps up your score.

    It is a crappy system to say the least. I don’t think we should encourage people to take on consumer debt just to build credit history, but it is what it is.

    • Mike says:

      Just to add. Your score may still be high, but what lenders often look for is proven history of paying off debt. If you get your credit report look at the little charts that show how often you paid stuff off. You want as many of those charts showing you paid stuff off without being late as possible. Again, it is a lame system, but it is the one lenders use.

    • kunfushuss says:

      Absolutely, Mike. This system is all sorts of crappy. My wife and I make plenty of money, but she just started her job. Before that, we were living off of my salary alone and still had money to help pay off student loans early. However, I find myself having to do a lot of money shuffling to make things LOOK better, because the system is poorly adjusted to deal with people who are within a few years of graduating college.

      The silly part is, I find myself paying the minimum on a couple of her student loans with high interest SOLELY so that we can show extra available cash, even though it is hurting us in the long run. The calculations they do simply do not account for or encourage long-term financial health.

      It’s a broken system

      • Mike says:

        “It’s a broken system”

        Yeah, don’t get me started. I mean, have you ever really taken a step back and looked at some if the ridiculous aspects of this system? The thing that always gets me is that we charge poor people MORE money to access capital. We justify this by saying they are at greater risk of defaulting, but doesn’t it seem counter-intuitive to then charge them MORE? Sure in the short run it seems to make sense, but in the long run wouldn’t it be better to not give poor people outrageous APRs since they are already struggling to make ends meet?

        • Coelacanth says:

          I’m sorry, it may seem broken, but let’s say you’re in the postiion to lend somebody money – you’re taking on a risk – one that means you might never get paid back in full. For that, investors demand interest – the higher the risk, the higher the premium.

          It may seem unfair to you, as a consumer, that poor people are charged higher interest rates. As much as I hate Citibank, if they’re losing over 10% (I’ve read figures as high as 13%) of their credit card portfolio, is it any wonder they have to charge > 13% APR to stay in business?

          (Not to mention, they’re taking on some pretty risky customers if they have a 10-13% chargeoff ratio!)

    • wrjohnston91283 says:

      It is a crappy system to say the least. I don’t think we should encourage people to take on consumer debt just to build credit history, but it is what it is.

      But that’s what credit history is, its a record of how you have paid off your debts. Never taking on any debt means no history.

      • Mike says:

        “Never taking on any debt means no history.”

        Yes, this is true but I would also say: “Never taking on any debt means good financial sense.”

        If I could break it down even more I would say we need to separate taking on debt on depreciable assets versus appreciable ones. It seems silly that we reward people who take on debt to buy depreciable things like TVs, cars, furniture etc. by giving them more access to capital, when someone like this person in the story never takes on debt but we “punish” them by saying they don’t have a long history. I think they have a GREAT history of not taking on consumer debt, which I would think would make them a better candidate for a loan on an appreciable asset like a house.

        The willingness to take on consumer debt should not be rewarded, we should reward this person’s unwillingness to take on consumer debt. They obviously have good financial sense on some level.

        • Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

          Having a revolving line doesn’t necessarily mean one is taking on debt.

          • Mike says:

            You’re correct. But having worked in the car industry I know that often the approval process for a loan often requires a minimum number of non-late payments to some kind of debt. Sure, you can get a credit card and pay it off each month and not take on any debt, but it just seems silly to make that a requirement to approve someone who applies for a loan for an appreciable asset like a house.

            Why should someone who never needed to take out loans or credit be forced to take out lines of credit just to show they have money? They have a history of no debt, and presumably pay stubs from a paying job. It is just lame we have a system that makes them get a credit card or some line of credit when they really don’t need one. I think this person should be able to have a credit report with no debt other than a mortgage. I would call that a spotless credit history.

  8. kunfushuss says:

    Whoa… I either don’t understand this or think it is very wrong.

    He has an excellent credit score, and is looking to purchase soon. He’s not looking to improve his creditworthiness in 2 years, he’s looking for help ASAP. From my understanding of what you say, this will only help him long-term and only hurt him immediately. If the area he’s deficient in is LENGTH of history, this will not help at all. For example, I’m 25, have had 4 credit cards for 5 years a piece, and STILL my length of history section of my credit score says ‘OK’ instead of ‘Good’ or ‘Great.’ This will just simply not help in the short term.

    What’s your beef with FHA loans? Sure, they have some stipulations, but from my understanding, it’s nearly the only way to go for non-millionaires our age.

    • Bativac says:

      Yeah, I went the FHA route (I was 30 but only 3 years out of college… yeah I was a bum). The interest rate I got was better than friends in comparable situations with non-FHA loans. I had a down payment saved, 2 credit cards (one paid off, one about halfway) and “pretty good” credit.

      I haven’t regretted my choice.

  9. valleygirl_18002 says:

    Find another lender. People without debt do get mortgages, there is just more involved in the process.
    This is info for people with no credit score:
    http://www.churchillmortgage.com/info/no-credit-score.aspx

    From the link (Churchill Mortgage):
    Here is what you need to do if you have no credit score but wish to purchase a home:

    Make sure you have 4 alternative credit tradelines, with one of them being a rent or lease payment. Contact the creditors and get a letter from each of them on their letterhead showing your name and account number, and stating your account has been “paid as agreed for the last 12 months.” This is a good start, but further documentation could be required from the creditor.
    Try to have a full 20% down payment.
    Get Preapproved long before you start looking for a home. You don’t want to get your hopes up and get emotionally attached to the home of your dreams, only to wait 45 days and find out you cannot get approved.
    In summary, no credit score loans are harder to document, harder to find lenders that will underwrite them, take longer to underwrite, may require a significant down payment, and require you to take precautions in the event the program is no longer available.

    With all that said, we still close no credit score loans at Churchill Mortgage.

    We just want to make sure our customers have the correct expectations and knowledge of the process going into the loan so they can properly prepare and protect themselves accordingly.

  10. Supes says:

    Is it your FICO score that’s over 800? If your score is already that high, opening credit cards won’t do anything to help you. That’s already an excellent score.

    Make sure you’re not looking at your credit score on a different scale, like Equifax.

  11. MuffinSangria says:

    I worked at a mortgage broker in college, processing the loan application, and don’t understand this at all.

    In all those years, I never saw a bank consider credit history length in the approval process. Your credit history length is used to help determine your credit score, your credit score is then used to determine your loan eligibility. The banks we worked with, about 20, would look at credit score, down payment %, your cash reserves and dept-to-income.

    If he had a lower credit score, then yes he would need to establish more credit. But his is over 800, with a large down payment.

  12. Darren W. says:

    What you want to do is called credit piggybacking. If you have a parent with a credit card with a long established, and good payment history, then have them put you on the account as a co-signer. A co-holder account doesn’t cut it. You have to be a Co-Signer. Then suddenly the entire payment history on the account will be associated with your SSN. Of course you’ll be liable if they ever screw up payments on teh card in the future.

    • bhr says:

      This is right. Parents/siblings with great history are awesome for this. If they are at all nervous about doing it there are a dozen links with an explanation online.

  13. SuperNinjaâ„¢ says:

    NO NO NO NO.

    Get your mortgage manually underwritten, or find another institution.

    Consumerist, I’m assuming you’re “leading the witness…” you know we’d all call foul, at least I pray you did!

    • mac-phisto says:

      this is the answer. walk – nay – RUN AWAY from that broker! call up banks – especially community/savings banks – & credit unions DIRECTLY in your area & explain your situation. you have credit history – just not a whole lot of it. you have steady income, a healthy down payment & want to know if they do manual underwriting (or alternative underwriting).

      there are other options here – for example, if you have utility bills, you can often get them to supply you with a credit reference. same with landlords (though that may be a sticky situation).

      DO NOT OPEN NEW TRADE LINES IF YOU WANT A MORTGAGE ANYTIME SOON! i’ve seen more than one mortgage deal sunk because people didn’t exhibit “credit restraint” while they waited for their loan to be processed.

  14. ahecht says:

    Opening four new cards all at once will drastically slash the average age of accounts on your credit report, which will significantly lower your score.

  15. Bob Lu says:

    As people mentioned in another post several days ago, the credit report/score system is broken, and that’s the bigger problem. However people do have to concern their smaller day to day problem and for most of the time, they have to play with the rules.

  16. cvt2010 says:

    FHA loans can be great. My husband and I bought a house using an FHA loan a year ago (mostly because we couldn’t come up with a full 20% down and FHA would give us the lowest monthly payment under our circumstances).

    However, FHA loans are harder to get approval on, particularly with condos. They may refuse the loan if everything isn’t up to code, each homeowner doesn’t control their own utilities, too many units in the building are rented rather than occupied by the owner, people in the HOA are behind on dues, etc. They almost refused on our house since it a duplex with a shared city water line (therefore we split our water bill with our neighbors).

  17. Karita says:

    What is wrong with an FHA loan? When I’ve done closings, I’ve noticed they have the most favorable terms and the lowest costs. I think the underwriting might take a bit longer, but if I were able to get an FHA mortgage, I would take it without question.

    • hansolo247 says:

      FHA loans don’t pay big commissions.

      Only loans with inappropriately high costs to the borrower pay big commissions.

  18. econobiker says:

    Tell him to either underwrite it manually or go jump in the lake.

  19. chiieddy says:

    Don’t do it!

    I repeat…

    DON’T DO IT!

    Your mortgage broker is a jerk. He’s trying to get you to lower your OUTSTANDING credit score by getting you to open up credit cards, taking a FICO hit and then getting a high commission for himself when your interest rate rises on your mortgage.

    When you ask about the raise in rate, he’ll tell you it went up or you didn’t lock it in… etc.

    DON’T DO IT!

  20. Ophelia says:

    Though as pointed out, opening up a credit card will only hurt you in the short term, it’s not a bad idea to have one – for emergencies, or online purchases etc. – but I don’t recommend locking them away and never using them. I did that with one (Discover), and they cancelled it for non-use. A better idea is to have something on it monthly – preferrably something small and regular (I have my netflix bill charged to my current card). Then set up an automatic payment so that it gets paid off in full every month. Voila – low usage (good), on time payments (good), no debt (good)! (THEN go with your buy everything with cash plan!)

  21. common_sense84 says:

    30% is a minimum and 30 year mortgages means you cannot afford said house. 15 year mortgages are the standard.

    • Karita says:

      Eh, what? What country are you from?

    • winnabago says:

      Where do you live? 30% of a house around here would be at least $100k & I suspect the average age of someone to save that much is around age 50, especially if said person would be renting prior.

    • JMILLER says:

      HUH?

    • NeverLetMeDown says:

      I assume you come from a parallel earth where years have 24 months.

    • hansolo247 says:

      You must be from the Smart States of America.

      Here in the United States, 30 years with as little down as possible is the norm.

      We SHOULD live in a world where 20% and 15 years is normal, but that would drive down home prices. The government will NEVER allow that as debt is the only think keeping this POS debt-based economy we have going.

      I should add that my congressman and the one in the next district over are Realtors. There’s a lot of Realtors that made big bucks in the boom serving now. Where do you think that stupid “homebuyer credit” came from???

    • Awesome McAwesomeness says:

      They are not, but should be. Our have to have it now society wouldn’t stand for all that. They would rather screw up the economy by purchasing homes they don’t have the money for, letting the loans go south causing millions to lose their jobs and then blame it on the lenders and government.

  22. Taylor@HiKarma.com says:

    Many banks offer their own credit cards that can be paid off via your online banking interface through a simple balance transfer. This is how my wife and I built our credit history, prior to the purchase of our first house.

    Good luck!

  23. sir_eccles says:

    Coincidentally enough I was just talking to my mortgage guy yesterday and he made me sign a piece of paper promising not to open any credit lines until after everything was finalized.

    I would run, don’t walk, run from this guy and find a new broker.

  24. Rachacha says:

    Revolving credit history can certainly help lenders feel at ease that you are a financially responsible person, but I suspect that to have any meaningful impact on your credit history, they would need to see several months/years of history to really tell what type of person (financially) you really are.If your credit score is actually 800, the hit that you might see by opening up a few credit cards and making a few small daily expenses purchases (gas, food, clothing that you would have purchased anyway) and paying that “debt” off when you receive your bill likely would not have a significant impact on your interest rate you are given, but it would help to establish your credit worthiness.

    Note to the OP, as you are planning to put 20% down, you don’t need to purchase PMI – Private Mortgage Insurance…don’t let them try to sell it to you or say that you need it as it is an additional expense with no benefit to you.

  25. icy_one says:

    I was in the same situation as Daniel, and the mortgage broker at Third Federal told me the same thing, that I didn’t qualify for pre-approval because I did not have three sources of credit. They seemed to be shocked that I didn’t have more than a loan on my car and a single credit card with no other bills or ongoing payments.

    Worst part was, they had already sent me a pre-approval letter and I had made an offer with it.

    Short story here: If a bank tells you to do something that sounds unwise, you are best to stay far, far away from them.

  26. Halula says:

    I’m surprised your primary bank said you didn’t qualify for a FHA loan, you should ask your broker about that. We just bought a home with a FHA loan and were told their only requirements were a minimum credit score – and that was somewhere around 620.

  27. Awesome McAwesomeness says:

    Why are you going to a mortgage broker? Go directly to a bank or credit union. Mortgage brokers are middle men and they are only out for them.

    Do not listen to mortgage brokers.

  28. TasteyCat says:

    1 credit card? Better hope they don’t cancel it, with no notice, leaving you in a jam.

    5 credit cards really is not that much. You don’t necessarily need that many, but putting all your eggs in one basket is playing with fire. You need at least one more major card.

    Granted, applying right before a mortgage is not the right time, and especially not for 4 at once.

  29. lukesdad says:

    This has to be the single most financially responsible 25 year old in the history of the world. I congratulate and envy you, sir. Your parents deserve a pat on the back as well.

  30. EcPercy says:

    Find a mortgage company that does manual underwriting. You don’t need to get credit cards to buy a house.

    I was told that one time when I was buying a home and I laughed at them and left. There are so many mortgage companies out there that will be glad to have your business.

  31. AugustaCassiopeia says:

    Find a new mortgage broker. 20% down payment and 800+ FICO = great terms anywhere.

    Tell Mr. Open-A-Bunch-of-Cards to take a hike and have a nice day..

  32. MrBuilder says:

    Daniel,

    Your Realtor already gave you excellent advice.

    You say,” I have not yet had a chance to approach a credit union or other bank regarding this; it’s still on my ‘to-do’.”???

    Well get it off your “to do” list and do it.

    Ditch the “loan officer/mortgage broker”.

    You are more than qualified and any small local bank or credit union would (or should) love to have you in their own loan portfolio.

    Get moving!
    Carl