They say money is the answer to anything, but why do people end up losing their lives over money? What does money have? How is credit affecting our everyday life? Join Jen Du Plessis as she interviews Rondi Lambeth, founder of Fortress Credit Pro, about his life experiences and how they led him to build his own credit repair company. As a mortgage professional, he will also share why he is teaching about money, credit, and taxes and reveals why he stands out from the rest. Tune in as he shares his best-kept secrets on helping hundreds of thousands of people increase their credit score, reduce their taxes, and eliminate their debt all through holistic education.
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How To Repair Credit And Increase Your Credit Score With Rondi Lambeth
I have Rondi Lambeth. He is known as America’s Credit Expert. I want to give you a little bit of detail about him and then we’re going to dive into some different types of credit restoration topics than I normally would do with some credit people that come on here. He is the Founder of Fortress Credit Pro, an award-winning TV and radio show host and a bestselling author. He has been seen on ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox News and NBC. Welcome to the show. I’m so happy to have you here.
It’s good to be alive. Isn’t it?
It is, despite the COVID cocoon that we’re all in. First, I want to do something special and I want to thank you for your service to our country. It is important to me. It happens to have been one of my niches when I was in production in helping and serve our veterans. I live in Washington, DC. I got to be around a lot of people in the Pentagon and the White House. I did all kinds of loans to those guys. Having been raised, as you and I were talking, in the green room in Colorado Springs, Colorado, we are loaded with military people around us. My father-in-law and my father were in the military. Thank you so much for serving our country, first and foremost.
You’re welcome. It was my honor to serve. I had a good time at it. I enjoyed all of it.You need to understand that credit cards are the most important thing you can have on your credit report. Click To Tweet
Also, you’re from my home state, which I love as well. I want to thank you also for being a first responder and a firefighter. I know that you are one of the first responders at Columbine. We had a cousin at Columbine at that time. I’m sure you crossed paths. Thank you again for that service as well. I want to dig right into some of the things that you do, credit restoration is one thing. I know you call it credit repair. I call it credit restoration. I know that you are someone who has worked with celebrities and big people about credit. We forget that it’s not just a little guy who has credit problems, it’s everybody who has credit problems.
In fact it reminds me of that alone I was doing a $1.5 million loan several years ago. That was a big loan back then. We couldn’t close a loan because out of the blue, he had a $14 medical collection and it ruined the whole deal. He was a doctor. We ended up closing it eventually, but we had to do a lot of work to get it there. This is before we had all the technology to be able to do fast restoration with them. I know one of the things that you focus on is helping people, not just with their credit, but looking holistically at their whole financial picture. The whole DNA of their whole financial picture in improving wealth and reducing debt, therefore, increasing their credit score. Can you talk to us a little bit about how you incorporate the wealth component of this in there as well as the debt reduction, whether this is a Dave Ramsey strategy of debt reduction or if it is a negotiated position with any of the creditors?
I teach about money credit and taxes differently than pretty much everybody out there. In fact, if you follow Dave Ramsey, and by the way, he followed my radio show for several years. He wanted my spot when I had my radio show, but the station wouldn’t give it to him. If you followed his advice, anything I teach you about money, credit or taxes is going to be completely opposite of what they say. That is because they come at it as a scarcity mindset. I grew up in a town not too far from where I’m at now in Boise, Idaho. I grew up in Parma, Idaho in a shack that had no running water and electricity. We got our food out of a dumpster. Every Wednesday after school, we’d go to the dumpster and get our food. That was our food for the week. We would hope and pray that they would dump some good food in the dumpster.
I grew up being taught that money was the root of all evil. Rich people are evil, they will take advantage of you and that scarcity mindset. I left home when I was fifteen years old. I got tired of being beat up, tortured and all of the other abuse that I had. I left my ten siblings. I’m the oldest of eleven. I went to work for a guy named Wally Williams in Oregon who owned a funeral home and that’s when I started learning about money. I started learning about credit back in the ‘80s when no one even understood credit at all. I started learning how credit affects people’s lives and how money and taxes affect your life.
Fast forward, I went to work for Littleton Fire. Here I am, Firefighter of the Year. The third firefighter of the Columbine High School shooting. All the stuff that we did that day and I was honored as this hero, yet, what I didn’t know was my little brother, who was also a firefighter, was struggling. He was struggling with medical collections, credit card debt and a car loan. Ultimately, he took his life over a few thousand dollars’ worth of stuff. That put me on this path of trying to figure out, why do people kill themselves over money? As a firefighter, I saw it every day. I saw the impacts of not understanding how to manage their finances. I saw it in my own family and then I’d see it as a firefighter.
In 2007, I started Fortress Credit, which was America’s first paid on results credit repair company. Over the last several years, we’ve helped hundreds of thousands of people increase their credit score, reduce their taxes, eliminate their debt all through holistic education and using our proprietary ways that we communicate with the credit bureaus and the banks who we work with. We’re not your typical credit repair company that is working against the banks and credit bureaus. We’re working with them to prevent them from being sued. They will be sued if they don’t work with us because we understand how the laws work. Dozens of different laws and each state have their different version of the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act. We understand how these laws work and we educate people how their money works and how credit works.You're never approved based on your credit score. You are denied based on your credit score. Click To Tweet
The reason we started that, Jen, was because, as you know as a mortgage professional, someone with lots and lots of experience with thousands and thousands of mortgages you’ve done, that the credit score is important but you also know that you never get approved based on your credit score. If you had a borrower that comes in and they have an 850 credit score, they’re not automatically approved. You’re never approved based on your credit score. You are denied based on your credit score. None of us even care what our number is, we just want the result that a good number will give you.
We teach how the credit score is created. For example, only 35% of your credit score is based on payment history. When you have all these other guys send in dispute letters to the credit bureau saying, “This is not my account. I was never late. I have no contract with the collection company.” If you get that fixed, it’s only 35% of the score. It’s about 142 points and that’s it. Whereas the other 65% is ignored. We do both. We teach you the 65% and we work on the 35%. That’s why 90% of the people that mortgage brokers send me are mortgage qualified in 90 days or less.
They’re on the tip of being able to be approved.
You could send me someone with a 400 credit score and 90% of the time, I’m going to have the mortgage qualified in 90 days, because of why they have the 400 credit score. I know that was a long-winded answer to your question of how we do things differently with the holistic side, but that is it. We educate them about the credit score and not just deleting the issue.
Is your company hands-on? One of the things that people complain about the most is that we’re given these letters and we’re supposed to send them out on our own. We are left out there to meander and try to figure this out on our own. I know that you’re helping people with wealth and understanding debt, but are you helping them in that capacity as well? Are you hands-on and guiding them? Are you saying, “You sign it, give it to me, let me take it and run with it?”
All the client has to do is sign our contract, provide us with three forms of identification and open their mail once a month when they get the letters from the credit bureaus and the furnishers and then send that to us. We take everything else over for them. They don’t have to try to figure out what to mail and what to say or any of that. They sign a limited power of attorney to us and we contact all of the creditors as well as the credit bureaus. We get the items legally and permanently removed from the credit report while the client has to make sure they get us the updated letters.
That’s one of the reasons why there’s such a bad taste in people’s mouths about credit restoration or credit repair is that, “I tried it. It didn’t work.” The fact is most consumers don’t try. They don’t know what they’re doing when they are given a template and they have to make some scripting. They don’t know what they’re saying. It’s us against the big bad credit bureaus in all of these cases. I love that you have this legal piece that’s popped in there. That’s what makes you different on the credit side. That’s cool to understand. I’d love to see a 400 go to a good number. I’d like to see how that happens. I trust that that’s what you’ll do because you’re making that claim here on the show.
The next question I have for you, because most of us have heard credit stories so we can all decipher all of that. Are your clients coming to you from loan officers? Are they coming to you from real estate agents? Are they coming consumer direct or all three? It doesn’t have to be a loan officer that is working in tandem with you. Do you keep the loan officer or whomever does the referral updated on the status?
They come from all of that. They come from mortgage brokers, loan officers, real estate agents, social media and banks. US Bank sends us a ton of clients, credit unions and teachers, anyone who has anything to do with money. They sent car dealerships, AutoNation USA, because we’re the only company that is paid on results. We work like a loan officer or a real estate agent. When a client hires us, they’re not giving us a bunch of money up front. There is no monthly retainer or setup fee. We’re 100% paid on results. If you send me someone with a 400 credit score and I don’t do anything, you don’t get paid, I don’t get paid, the consumers are not happy. We only get paid if we’re successful with getting items removed from their credit. They come from all aspects.
I prefer clients from loan officers over a real estate agent. The reason for that is because the loan officer knows that unless that person addresses the credit issue, they’re not going to get a loan, where sometimes what’ll happen is a real estate agent thinks, “I’ll find another lender.” Most of our business comes from loan officers or lenders because they know that we are the last stop, and the only chance of the client becoming a homeowner is through us. The only chance of them getting paid is through us. That’s where we get most of our clients.
It sounds like you have some enterprise accounts as well. That’s something that the loan officers that are reading, instead of onesie-twosie-ing all of this, it’s a possibility that you could get your whole company on to X amount of credit repairs in a certain amount of month. Is that true or not?
Yes. We have an affiliate program and we can take anywhere from 1 client from you to 1,000 clients. We have a mortgage banker in Texas and he probably sends us 200 to 300 clients per month.
I coach an entire company, their management all the way down to the loan officers, who is a national company. They could use this.
If you ask me how I keep them up-to-date, it’s simple. We have a portal that the clients can log into, as well as the referring partner, whether it’s the real estate agent or lender. You would never call me and say, “What’s the client’s credit score?” You would log into the portal and you would enlist every single one of your clients. You click on it. It gives you their up-to-date credit score. Unlike most credit repair companies that work against the credit bureaus, remember I said, I worked with the banks and with the credit bureaus, I own two credit monitoring companies to where I have access to the credit bureaus information.
They have to hope that what they did is going to result in a good score. You’re able to do some monitoring and not soft polls.
I can pull your credit every single day, but the lender then is able to log in and you could click on someone’s name and see exactly their score. In fact, if you tell us this is an FHA client and they needed a 580 or whatever it is, the moment that client has a 580 on 2 of the 3 bureaus or the one thing they needed deleted, the instant that happens, you would get a text message and an email from us stating, “Jen, George Jones has now at an 820, please reach out to them.” We’re constantly updating our partners as well.
Thank you so much for sharing all of that. I want to switch gears because that is a differentiator for what you do versus other people. Most people know that we already know and understand some credits so that’s fine. I want to talk about a couple of different things. You’ll have to let me know if this is not in your realm, but it is. First and foremost, I want to talk about the effect of COVID and what it’s had on credit and what kind of anticipation can we be seeing coming up in the coming months as forbearance starts kicking out and we started having challenges there?
Are you seeing more credit scores coming in where people are having to work on them, that they’re challenged because they thought it was going to be one thing and now it’s something else? What do you forecast for us? What do you see in the next year to year and a half that as loan officers and real estate agents, they need to know in order to ensure that the momentum that they have built through COVID continues?You know the company is ideal if it’s been paid based on results. Click To Tweet
President Trump changed the Fair Credit Reporting Act in March of 2020. What he changed was the furnishers could not legally report any negative information from March 1st, 2020 until July 1st, 2020. During that time, whether you paid your bills on time or not, did not get reported. No one saw a big impact on their credit scores, then come July 1st, 2020, that went away. We have the forbearance but that does not prevent you from impacting your credit score because that’s just forbearing your payment down the road, but then you’ve got to make up all of those loss payments, those past payments. If you’ve skipped your mortgage for 6 to 12 months, now that the forbearance is over, you owe a year’s worth of back pay. None of that is being reported yet and once the furnishers start reporting all the late payments that are out there, there’s going to have to be something that changes.
It’s either the government changes the Fair Credit Reporting Act again and says from March 2020 until March 2022, no reporting of negative information. That’s one way to fix it or two, FICO changes their algorithm and their model, which they’re already doing. As you know as a mortgage professional, you had your Empirica and your Beacon score. Fannie Mae and Freddie require a 1996 version of the FICO credit score. It is several years old. Can you imagine using Windows 95 on your computer now? That is what’s required. That’s part of why your credit scores are different anywhere you go. FICO is going to have to either create a new algorithm or create a new model to ignore similar to what they’ve done with medical collections under $1,000.
They change it. I heard it is now $2,000. Don’t affect your credit score. The medical collection is not lowering your scores on FICO model 8, 9 and 10. It doesn’t do anything for FICO model 2, which is what you would see on a mortgage credit report. Do I expect some changes? Yes, there’s going to be a lot. I suspect that bloods will be running in the streets by the time this whole thing is done. When the forbearances are gone and the foreclosures come out, the people that have their credit right are going to be able to purchase a lot of products, a lot of houses, a lot of real estate and the people that don’t, won’t be able to.
I’m expecting that too. I’m an avid real estate investor. I’ve been doing that for a long time. I work in that world as well and we’re all ramping up, all of us. Every investor that I’ve talked to, every podcast I’m on about investing, we’re talking about the ramp up in positioning our capital, getting it liquid enough that it doesn’t sit too long, but that it’s moving in a direction to help people that are going to need help out there. It’s funny because I was having a conversation with one of my clients and I said, “They’ve had the best year ever and everybody has because the market gave it to us, but when the market leaves, are you going to have the best year ever?” You can keep that momentum going. That’s proven year in, year out with top producing loan officers to keep the momentum going. Instead of buying the $35,000 watch and the big boat and all this stuff that is typical of loan officers and real estate agents when they have a surplus, it’s better to think about how your money can move for you.
That’s going to lead us into this wealth creation piece that I have a question for and that is, how do you pay less taxes and enjoy more vacations? In that realm, take off your credit hat and put on your tax hat here. If I were a loan officer coming to you and I make a whole bunch of money one year and not enough in another. I have no way to write it off anymore unless I create a side company that can only last as a negative for a couple of years without the IRS triggering it. What is something that we can be doing as loan officers, not realtors, because of 1099 loan officers who are W-2, to reduce taxes?
I specialize in reducing lifetime taxes. The way we do that through our company is we set up private placement accounts. Anybody can do this as long as they’re at least two weeks old. From 2 weeks old to 119 years old, you can have it. It’s similar to a Roth IRA. Are you familiar with the Roth IRA?
Only the poor or the working class can afford it because as a couple, if you make more than $300,000 a year, you can’t qualify for a Roth. When I say only the poor working class, the wealthy don’t get to use the Roth. There are these private placement accounts. Anybody can have access to it. Unlimited amounts of money can go into it. You can access the money at any age for anything you want and you never pay taxes on it, ever. The number one way that we teach our clients how to legally not pay taxes is to move their money from tax-deferred accounts like a 401(k) or an IRA into a non-taxed account that now can grow 100% tax-free.
Let’s say five years down the road, you’re like, “I want to buy this property. I want to do a fix and flip.” You could send me an email, and within 72 hours, you can have a couple of hundred thousand dollars wired to your bank account. You can use that money for your flip, put it back into your private placement account to take all the profits, put it back in there and not pay anything in taxes. All that money you pull out, you don’t pay anything in taxes. That’s the number one way is setting up a private placement account and putting your money in there, so it grows 100% tax-free and access tax-free.
Is that a whole life extension?
I was curious if it is. It’s the first time I’m learning about this one.
Whole life has been around for a long time. The problem with doing this with a whole life is you get 2% to 3% interest, maybe you get 4% interest. The only way you can access that cash in there is you pay 5% interest to pull it out, or you die. It is 1 of the 2. Ours is not like that at all. It is not a whole life policy. It is index to the S&P 500 so if the stock market goes up 25%, you get 25% on your money. The stock market goes down, you don’t lose anything because you’re paid an interest rate based on what the S&P 500 does. If you want to access it, they loan it to you at 0% interest. It’s not whole, but it’s close.
I do a little different kind of whole life. I don’t just pop money into whole life. I borrow against it for myself. I borrow against myself. It allows me to leverage to buy more properties. I know exactly what that is. I remember a financial advisor had something similar to this several years ago. It was proprietary and it’s probably now expanded way beyond that. It’s taking your post-tax dollars and letting them grow tax-free rather than taking your pre-tax dollars, which you’ll have to pay tax on after it’s done growing when you get older. That’s good information.
You had indicated some of the commentary that you like to talk about is relationships, separation and credit. I am one of the coaches for the CDLP, Certified Divorce Lending Professional designation. I’m one of the coaches for that program. We know that 53% of people are getting divorced. That’s our range now and we know that with COVID, that’s gone up exponentially for a variety of reasons. Let’s talk about what that means to you and how you want to talk to loan officers and real estate agents about people that are in separations and going through a divorce and how it affects their credit because it is the principle of the matter that, “I’m not making the payment because it says I don’t have to.”
That’s something that I hear on a regular basis, “I got divorced and it ruined my credit.” Here’s the fact, divorce doesn’t affect your credit whatsoever. None at all. Divorce doesn’t have any impact on your credit score because it has to do with your marital status. They don’t care what the color of your skin, your orientation or how much money you make. That does not impact your credit score. Whether you’re married or you’re not married, it doesn’t impact it. What impacts that is you got divorced and you didn’t pay your bills. What I recommend to people is when you get into a relationship or if you’re already in a relationship, you should separate your credit. I truly believe that couples should have joint checking accounts and that they should act as one person, one financial home, but have separate credit files.
What I mean by that is one spouse or partner has their own credit cards, the other spouse has their credit cards and then you’re not joint, but your authorized users on each account. What that does is if you do separate at some point, you said 53% of married couples will eventually separate, all you do is you take that other person off of your account as an authorized user. Whereas if you were joint or married and then you were co-signers on each other’s account, you have to close the account to separate it. When you close the account, your credit score goes down because you close the account. The other part of it is when you get divorced, there is a divorce decree that says, “You have to pay these bills and you have to pay these bills.”
You are relying on your previous partner to pay your bills. Over the next 7 to 30 years, you’ve got to have a constant relationship with this person. You’re no longer separated or divorced. What happens if they miss a mortgage payment 29.5 years from now? Just because the divorce decree says you have to pay it, it doesn’t mean that the banks are going to enforce that because their banks don’t have to. Just because the divorce decree says you are required to refinance the house within so many years, they can’t force you to do that. Even though there’s a court order, what are they going to do? Throw you in jail? I wanted to buy a house. In March 2020, I put an offer on the house, I went to buy it and COVID happened. It took away my bank statement loan program. I couldn’t buy a house. It cost me about $200,000 in equity because where I live in Idaho, there was 28% appreciation in 2020, which is insane.
I lost $200,000 to $300,000 because I couldn’t qualify. What if my divorce decree said I had to refinance that property and I couldn’t because of COVID? Are they going to throw me in jail? No. If the divorce decree says, “You have to pay this credit card,” and I don’t, “Are you going to pay an attorney to take me to court?” They could throw me in jail and then I’m not going to pay any of the bills. It’s never a good idea to be a co-signer with anyone. This is one of my cardinal rules on credit and money, never co-sign for anyone, no matter what. Even if you’re married to that person, do not co-sign for them. The reason you have to co-sign is because the bank doesn’t think they’re going to pay so they want you to pay. Unless you’re prepared to pay that debt, don’t co-sign. They have someone else to go after. With relationships, I recommend to have separate. You can have joint checking accounts, savings and all that stuff. I’m not a big believer of you pay this much and you pay that and the roommate thing. I’m saying to have your credit cards and your car loan separate.
With mortgages, you need the other person. Is that your exception?
Yeah. That would be the exception, is the mortgage, you’ve got to deal with that. When it comes to cars and credit cards, boats, motorcycles, I don’t believe that you should be a co-signer with it. Think about it this way, you know this from doing mortgages, if you sit down and you put all of the credit card debt on the wife’s credit and she makes a lot less money, the husband has the 820 credit score with all the money, it helps with the DTI because there are some states that don’t need both people on it. That way, you can move things around. Let’s say that the wife wants to buy some houses and she’s going to do bank statement loans then she moves the debt through balance transfer checks to the husband’s account, there are some other advantages to move in that money towards not all joint.
Bank statement loans are back. I hope you know that because then you can go and buy your house quickly if you want. If someone’s reading and they’re saying, “I heard what he said.” They do some research and they say, “I agree with him. I concur. I need to have all this separated, but the thing is all of it is together right now.” How do they separate it without closing the account? Can they call it the Southwest Chase and call and say, “I want to have this person removed off and get reapproved for that same credit card?”
No, what’s going to happen is they’re going to close that account and open a new one. There’s no way around that. There’s no way to remove a signer. There’s a way to remove an authorized user. If you’re married and you have joint credit cards, what I’d recommend is to get more credit cards, keep them separate and pay off the other credit cards.
Get them to zero.
You have to use credit cards every single month. If you don’t, they’re eventually going to get closed. Number two, FICO kicks it out of the algorithm because they think it’s a closed account that hasn’t been updated yet. Number three, your mortgage banker or lender is going to say, “You haven’t used these credit cards, so you need to close them all.” That’s what the underwriter wants you to do and then they close the credit cards. This is something that we’ve dealt with for several years.
I was an underwriter when we didn’t have credit scores. I was underwriting credit when we didn’t have credit scores. Something that bothers me that needs to be talked about right here is that while we are learning from you, we cannot take this advice and give it to clients. Why is that? I’ll let you answer that.
I don’t know what you mean by what you’re learning from me, you shouldn’t give to clients.
We’re not a credit reporting agency. We are not licensed to be a credit reporting agency, monitoring agency or credit counselors either. In the mortgage perspective, we can say, “From my experience, this is what I’ve seen do.” The worst thing in the world is for a loan officer to tell a client to pay off a credit card because of the experience that they had. I had this happen to one of my clients and somebody in my office, who told a client to pay off a whole bunch of things. Their credit score dived and they couldn’t get a loan because of it.
I find that when loan officers take the position of being a credit counseling company that they do not have the authority to be or the license to do, we could be giving them wrong information. It’s like us saying, “This is what you should do for your taxes because we’re not a CPA, but this is what you should do.” That’s the same thing with loan officers is having them tell people to pay off their credit cards so that they can qualify. No underwriter has the authority to tell people to close out an account. It drives me crazy.
The majority of misinformation is spread through the financial industry. For example, people will tell you on a credit card what you have heard on what is the proper amount of money to owe on a credit card to have the most positive credit score.
Twenty-five percent is the last that I remember. Maybe there was 15% below that, I can’t remember because I’ve been out for a while.
They’ll tell you 30% to 50%. Thirty percent is a real number I hear all the time. Here’s what I will tell you as a FICO-Certified Credit Professional, someone who was trained by FICO that pulls almost 20,000 credit reports a month through my company. FICO’s algorithm wants to see a 1% to a 7% utilization rate on a credit card, which means if you have a $10,000 limit, they want to see between $100 and $700 tops. You go over 7%, your score is going to go down. When you keep it at 30%, you’re proximate losing 30 points. A way to increase your credit score is to get it below 7%. If you pay the credit cards off completely, your credit score is going to tank because FICO wants to see at least 1% on there every single month.The majority of misinformation is spread through the financial industry. Click To Tweet
If you don’t use those credit cards, you will have poor credit. How do you manage that? I’ll tell you what I do and what I recommend my clients to do, my audience, is use every single credit card every single month. You have Netflix, put it on a credit card. You’ve got internet, water, your Zoom bill, all of your utilities that you have every single month, you put it on a separate credit card and then you carry one with you that you use all the time. The restaurant on autopilot, they pay themselves off in full and make sure they’re set up to autopay. I couldn’t tell you how many times people that have their own private jets, they’re on TV all over the place that you would know who they are, have hired me to fix an annual payment on a credit card that they thought was closed and they’ve got a 30 day late for a $28 annual fee. This is common.
I don’t manage our house stuff. I manage all the businesses. We have a little sticky that was on a card that was, “This is for veterinarian, this is for grocery shopping, this is for the chiropractor,” to have that little bit. They’d tell me, “I have a zero balance and everything.” I told clients, “Before I pull the credit, tonight, I want you to take her to dinner, put some money on a credit card.” I want to ask you a personal question and this is a good story because people hear this all the time. My husband’s mother passed away, not COVID. She had an American Express bill. My husband has an American Express and because the payments weren’t being made on the American Express from the estate because he doesn’t have legal access to the estate funds yet. He doesn’t have access to everything and that’s a whole other story. Because of COVID, they’re having a delay in getting death certificates out.
All of a sudden, the late payments on her American Express have nothing to do with his, now became late on his. They’re calling him and saying, “You’re late on your American Express.” He said, “No, I’m not.” They combined the accounts and we’re now fighting it. What is your advice for us in dealing with something like that? This becomes bigger than us. It’s so much. We could hire the estate attorney and say, “You’ve got to go fight this because this has nothing to do with me, but it seems it’s going to cost a lot of money.” It has affected his credit.
Where do you want your beach house because what they’re doing is so illegal? I work with attorneys all over the United States. I’m a federally-approved credit expert witness. I can go into federal court and explain how the FICO algorithm works, how FICO scoring models work, how credit reporting works, how e-OSCAR works. What they’re doing most likely violates the Fair Credit Reporting Act because they have merged it. I’m not an attorney, so I can’t tell you if it’s illegal or not. I have dozens of law firms that would love to have your name. They will work on contingency. They’re going to take 33% to 40% of what they win and 100% of the attorney fees. You should never ever use your family attorney to go against a bank or credit bureau. They would get slaughtered in court.
These are guys that are charging $4,000 an hour. That’s all they do all day long. My hourly rate is more than most attorneys will charge throughout the United States. I have attorneys who call me and I give them my rate, they’re like, “That’s more than I charge.” I’m like, “I’m the expert. You’re not.” I would recommend that you only work with the credit attorney who sues banks and credit bureaus. Here’s what would happen. I’ll introduce you to our people. It goes 1 of 2 ways. You can either make it go away and fix it or we can set a trap, wait for them to fall into it and then send them a letter demanding X amount of dollars. They’ll most likely cut a check and send you the check or make it go away. It should not be reporting her late payments.
Not at all. There is no communication, completely separate accounts, everything. This is what clients experience on a regular basis. It’s hard for loan officers to deal with that because their hands are tied and they don’t know what to do. They say, “I don’t know. You need to find an attorney.” I love hearing that this is something that you could help people resolve because we hear these stories like this all the time. I’ve funded over $1 billion of loans. I heard this horror story and now it happened to us. I thank you for sharing that.
You will spend tens of thousands of dollars fixing this. One of my clients was one of the founders of a little company called Oracle, which you’ve probably heard of Oracle before, he had a 4,000-acre ranch in Montana. The ranch hand put in DirecTV or Dish TV, I don’t remember which one, but after ten years, he moved out. He forgot to mail the box in. This collection showed up on this person, the founder of Oracle’s credit report. I was at his house. I’m in his office and he’s got pictures of him and Bill Clinton playing golf together. He’s got pictures of him and other leaders of countries that he’s friends with. He’s worth who knows how much money, but he cannot get this collection removed because they show it’s in his name.
He spent thousands and thousands of dollars trying to fix it. We went in and about 72 hours how to remove from his credit report because it wasn’t his, but when you hire someone that doesn’t specialize in credit, they’re going to say stuff like, “This is not my account. This is my mom’s account. It’s not my fault. You shouldn’t be doing this.” When you make statements, they will respond with another statement. If you ask a question, they have to answer that question. Otherwise, it’s another violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act. That’s one of the ways that we would get this fixed for you. If you wanted us to fix it, we would simply reach out and ask them a question and either set the trap or not set the trap. It’s up to what you want. It happens all the time.
That’s why I have you on here because I want everyone to know. I don’t mind being vulnerable to my own stories because hopefully this will help. As luck would have it, someone who’s reading, in the next couple of days, you’re going to know the same kind of story and now you’re going to know how to fix it. That’s what’s key here is to fix it for the sake of the client. That fiduciary responsibility is we have to help them, but also to help yourself because you’ll be able to fund a loan and the family has the home or has their credit repaired. Is there anything else that you’d like to share with us as we close out our time together that we need to be aware of?
The biggest thing that I like people to understand is credit cards are the most important thing you can have on your credit report and managing those credit cards properly, keeping them below that 7%, making sure you use them every single month and using BillPay to pay your bills. As I said, never co-sign for anyone because when you co-sign, you are now liable for that debt for up to 30 years and everything that happens with that debt. For example, you co-sign for a car. I was telling my executive assistant because he’s co-signed for two people, a friend and his mom. I said, “You’re the owner of the car, which means if they get drunk, run a red light and kill someone, because you are on the loan as the owner of the car, you’re now responsible for it or could be held responsible.” Remember how important credit is in your life and manage it properly.
It’s a whole different perspective on credit. That’s why I wanted to bring you on. We’ve had lots of credit companies come on and I love them and they’re great and everything, but you bring a different dynamic to this. I appreciate that opportunity to share this with my audience. Thank you so much. Thanks for what you’re doing. I appreciate what you’re doing to make a difference in the world too. Not many people are doing this, thank you for doing that. I want to mention that you also have a podcast called the School of Wealth. Go listen to that podcast. I’m sure you’re going to learn a lot of things from that podcast. Are you a weekly or daily? What are you doing with your podcast?
It’s weekly on School of Wealth. My radio show that was syndicated for seven years is also called Your Credit Matters Radio and there are 2,200 episodes on that. It started in 2010 to 2007. On School of Wealth, it’s weekly. Every Wednesday, we upload a new show. There’s a show that got uploaded on real estate investing.
It’s great that I’ve had this opportunity to meet you. Thank you so much for being here with us. We appreciate it.
Thanks for having me on your show.
Everybody, we’ll catch you next time on Mortgage Lending Mastery. Until then, please give us a great five-star rating and a review on what you like to know about, maybe the a-ha moment that you had here as well. As always, if there are topics that you would like to discuss, I definitely look at those reviews to see about that topic. Thank you again for reading and I appreciate the time that you spend with us. We’ll catch you next time.
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About Rondi Lambeth
Rondi Lambeth, “America’s Credit Expert” and Founder of Fortress Credit Pro., Rondi Lambeth, is an award-winning TV & Radio Show host, and a best-selling author as seen on ABC, CBS, CNN, FOX News & NBC. Tens of thousands of people, including celebrities who have worked with Rondi, know that he is the trusted authority for credit-related education and credit hacks that can significantly improve and change their life. Rondi has spoken to large audiences on stages all across the world, including Harvard. While serving in the military, he was also called to serve his local community. He spent 15 years as a firefighter, and was named Firefighter of the Year in 1998 in Littleton. In 1999, he was one of the first responders to the Columbine High School shooting. In 2006, his younger brother, who was also a firefighter, took his own life over a few thousand dollars in medical bills and other debt. At the time, he vowed to help other people fix their financial situation, so no other families had to deal with that type of loss. In 2007, he founded Fortress Credit Pro., a reputable credit repair company that has removed millions of late pays, collections, charge-os, repositions, short sales, foreclosures, tax liens, judgments and bankruptcies from credit reports. Rondi and his team have helped non-qualifying applicants become mortgage-ready in as little as 90 days eliminating over 50 million dollars of consumer and tax debt.