The world of lending and borrowing is constantly changing, and thus the techniques for securing loans also evolves. Funding hacking is one of the ways through which one can stay on top of the game. Joined by the CMO and Chief Funding Officer of CreditSense, Brad Burnett, Merrill Chandler gets into the nitty-gritty of the concept of funding hacking and the many ways it occurs in the financial world. This so-called hacking comes in many different forms, so you need to be smart and vigilant with how you can go about it. Listen to this episode to learn more about this unique offering and how it can help you today!
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“We Are The Crazy Ones…” With Guest Co-host Brad Burnett
The GET FUNDABLE Revolution Is Changing The World
As you can tell, I’ve got my partner in crime and in business, Brad Burnett here with me. We’re going to have an amazing discussion on hacking both in the context of funding hackers as well as white hat, black hat, etc. Are You F*able? That’s the question we always ask, but we haven’t actually addressed the notion of what is funding hacking? We have it plastered everywhere. We have everything that is associated with being a funding hacker and some people think that’s a negative thing. Other people are like, “Yes, I want to hack funding.” Brad, where does funding hacking come from and is it a good thing or a bad thing? What is it?
It’s a great thing because we came up with funding hacking from the premise that we are constantly at the sharp end of the spear when it comes to what’s happening with technology? What’s happening in the financial industry for borrowers? I don’t care about all the risk analytics and all that stuff as it pertains to banks other than how it translates to borrower. We’re hacking these systems because they don’t want to let this information out. They don’t want to tell people what their risk analytics are. They believe that if we know them will gain them. For us, being a funding hacker is absolutely the pinnacle of playing at the top of the game by the rules that they established.
The terms that are out there are the white hat hacking, the hero and the black and white the original movies back in the day. There’s black hat.
It’s like they did with the elections allegedly, that would be bad.
What we’re talking about is definitely white hat hacking. We say that hacking the funding the game is the exact same thing as having access to the insider secrets that individuals do not know because we’re not taught. One of my rants for this episode is that when I was back at FICO World ‘19, one of the things that came up is when we would talk to VPs of scores and even the risk analytics guys and we would say, “We optimize the borrowing experience, just like you optimize the lending experience.” It is a brand new concept. They have never heard these words. They’re like, “What do you do?” We’re like, “We optimize borrowers so they can become better borrowers.” They’re like, “That’s a great idea.” Lenders think we’re going to game the system if we know what they’re measuring. You can’t cheat true behavior. If we tell you that there’s a reporting date and that you get better points by paying on the day before the reporting date, they get more of their money back on the payment cycle.
You can’t hack this stuff and yet funding hackers is that fun life hack way of saying, like our private Facebook page for people to go to the bootcamp, you have access to the funding hackers tribe. Because whether it’s a rally cry or not get fundable is our objective, but we are committed to it being a community of people who are willing to put on their white hats and share with their friends and their family. They’ve read my book and these blogs. They’re all about creating an awareness that says, “We don’t have to be in the dark.”
To that, let’s point out what are some of the funding hacks. What makes somebody who’s reading this a funding hacker? It’s access. It’s something that nobody’s teaching. You are the only voice teaching this. For some people, this show is their funding hack. It’s not that the VPs are going, “That is a brilliant idea. We’ve never once thought of that.” It’s not that they’re not on board with it. They love it as an idea, “You should bring us more fundable people.” They wish that will happen.
That’s what they want. They’re like, “If the result is more fundable borrowers, then yes, we’re all in.”Funding hacking can either be a 'white hat' or 'black hat.' Click To Tweet
The next hack of this experience and why is Merrill the lead funding hacker? Who do you call yourself coming off the mountain?
Moses with the tablets or Mohammed coming down from the mountain.
The reason Merrill becomes the champion, what would be considered getting fundable in the funding hackers tribe is because he is who gives you access. It’s him going to FICO World. We’re not doing anything nefarious. We go there because we’re invited.
We shake the hand of the CEO and say, “How’s it going?” I did a show with David Smith from Liquid Credit.
They know us, they know Merrill and they approve of his message. They approve of what he’s doing for borrowers, but his access is the hack. That’s what we’re talking about when we say funny hackers and there is nothing about that game the system. Will we push boundaries? Absolutely. To the degree that Merrill has a FICO badge that says, “Demigod,” but we’ll push him by asking the right questions.
Like you taught me ages ago, the more intelligent the question, the more intelligent the answer can be.
The quality of your life is determined by the quality of your questions.
We go back to every FICO World and we upgraded from a liaison to a solutions ambassador. I didn’t even know there were great grades of this, but the whole point is that there are questions we have asked. In FICO World 2016, Brad was there as well. There are questions that say, “That butts up against IP.” Many of my questions are IP notwithstanding, what can you tell me up to the IP second about this? They will literally skirt that edge. They’ll say, “What I can tell you are,” and give us a date, time, balances or whatever the essence of the question is. Our community is people who are devoted to pushing that all envelope. I may be two or three steps ahead of you pushing the envelope, I use the hacking through the jungle with your machete. It isn’t an easy hike behind me, but at least somebody’s clearing out some of the jungle. What we’re doing in this episode is how you can relate to being a funding hacker. Reading this may be your push on this technology and improving your fundability.
It actually brings up a quote that I have seen more than once that has been used in other settings. There are other companies that pushed this. It came from the CEO of Apple, from Steve Jobs, which for me when we were starting to have this conversation, I immediately knew that we had to share this.
This is our credo. If you’re funding hacker, you are part of this message.
You see what you relate to because for me, I relate to a lot of it and I know Merrill likes every word to the quote by Steve Jobs from 1997 that says, “Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs and the square holes. The ones who see things differently, they’re not fond of rules. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them because they change things. They push the human race forward and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the ones who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do?” If you got chills on the back of your head as I do, that’s who we are. That’s who Merrill is. That’s who you are. We welcome you to this tribe because we’re going to push those boundaries. We’re going to ask the questions to say, “It’s always been that way, but does it have to be that way?”
Does anybody lose if it’s different? Everybody in this circle, the credit bureaus, the lenders, FICO even, they shore up against their IP and borrowers. Everybody thinks that they’re going to lose if something changes. Our manifesto is that things don’t have to be the way they are. We continue to evolve. There are two concepts that we’ve discussed. I quote this, “There is evolution and there is revolution.” There is a time for each one of those. Evolution is lying online step by step. We slowly grow. At other times, we pull the rug out from underneath. One example at FICO World, it was hilarious. I’m talking to two gentlemen. One is from FICO and one was a lender and we talked, “We’re waiting in meetings to start meeting with David for his show interview.” They go, “What do you do?” “I optimize borrowers.” The jaw drops and everything goes blank look on your face, “What?” I asked this lender, “What is your borrower education strategy?” He goes, “We don’t have one.” I said, “We’re your borrower education strategy,” and I got his card, which is sitting on my workstation. We are the borrower.
I talked to the Vice President of Equifax in the big Equifax booth. I was like, “What’s your borrower education strategy?” He described it like a crazy old coot in Equifax, higher echelon, been there for decades and he’s like the lone voice in the wilderness saying, “Educate the borrowers.” Since he’s inside of Equifax, there’s no credibility of what might be told, especially because we had the conversation and go back to our previous episode where we talk about the Equifax Data Breach and how it’s not as bad as everybody. They’ve shored up all of the risks so that having your identity stolen is not the thing everybody’s sold. It’s not devastating.
When I told the Equifax VP like, “I need to put you in touch with this guy. There may be some things that he wants to voice through you and it sounds like you guys are on the same page.” This guy was ranting inside of the halls of Equifax not to be heard by anybody on the outside. You guys know it’s not that bad. You can’t say that to the public. We go through why Equifax is horrible but not as bad as we’ve been led to believe. I do address that. I talked in my conversation this time with a borrower with William Lansing.
William Lansing is the CEO of FICO.
This is the second time that I’ve met with him and he remembered Credit Sense, borrower education, borrower optimization and bracket. It is the funniest thing to watch these guys. If I talk the tech, they’re all, optimization and funding risk analytics, but if I say making borrowers better borrowers, maybe their eyes glaze over it.You can't always be thinking about trying to game the system. Click To Tweet
This neophyte doesn’t know anything.
William Lansing, I say, “What is your borrower education model for all of this?” He goes, “The FICO credit boards.” I’m like, “There’s not a single FICO employee who is on the credit boards.” He goes, “Yes, but we monitor the boards.” I said, “You know that there are horrible mistruths that are talked about by all the various types of people. Not all of it, but many.” He goes, “I would love for you to send those to me.” This is a case of evolution. It may be 3, 4 or 5 FICO World, but we’re making inroads in them being able to trust that we have the lenders back because we want to play by the rules. We want to create an intelligent body of borrowers that are extremely fundable and pass all the underwriting metrics. On your part for our part, I am committed to creating this borrower education process so that lenders and FICO have nothing to fear. We might even be a voice for that they can’t be the voice for them, but they never encounter us, never argue us, never make us pariah because we are that passive, the third party validates that what we’re saying is not true. They would never say, “That’s true.” They may say, “That’s not entirely inaccurate.”
We are so committed to this because we do believe we can make a change. The story you told with Will Lansing and speaking to this lender from overseas or wherever country. We are making a change and we are making a difference. The biggest challenge and one of the reasons that we are “get fundable” not because it’s our message. Every single thing we have talked about has been about getting fundable. We didn’t have the pieces together. The concept of credit outside of the institutional reign has always been black hat hacking. It’s always been, “How do we gain the system? How do we pay credit repair or how do we pay for tradelines?” There’s a valid place for credit repair because there is no one from any bureau will ever get on TV and say “We don’t ever make mistakes.” We have used this analogy forever. They cast the widest net they can and they gather all the information.
I’ve said this before. I have somebody in Illinois whose name is identical to mine whose birthday is a day off of mine. Our socials are really close apparently because he ends up on my credit report every couple of years. I have to call him and go, “Look back in history. You’ll see I’ve already disputed this. That’s not me.” The cool thing is the guy pays his bills. It doesn’t hurt me, but it doesn’t help me with my optimized profile. I always take care of it when it pops up. Why does that happen? It’s because they cast a wide net. Mistakes happen. Merge files happen. All stuff happens. They’re not going to dispute that. It’s when we start using credit repair to try to game the system like, “I applied for five credit cards. How do I get rid of the inquiries?” That type of garbage is the stuff that has given everybody of that and we don’t support it.
We’re thrown in. The point you’re making is, we get thrown in those categories. We get ascribed with black hat influence.
We are guilty before proven innocent. We have to prove over and over, continue to prove and continue to reassure, continue to ensure all of these institutional beings and entities that we are who we are and we do make borrowers fundable. When our borrowers show up to their doorstep, they can give them the best rates, the highest loan amounts and that they are the exact borrower that they want to do business with every time.
The point is well-made, Brad, and you have to understand that we are literally climbing out. We are completely different. Even though my roots, which has gotten us into trouble, “Aren’t you the guy that was the cofounder of Lexington?” I’m like, “Yes, but that’s why I’m doing what I’m doing is because I learned from my experience there that you can’t repair your weight to fundability.” No one’s going to give you a $50,000 business line of credit because you deleted a couple of negative items. You’ve got to have fundable profile. We’ve spent the last several years together doing exactly this and making the tools necessary. Send your friends and family to read these so they understand that it doesn’t have to be this way, so they can put on their white hat and join our funny hacker community. The best way to do that is on the same website at GetFundable.com and checkout our Bootcamp. It is where you get your deep dive into what is fundability and that’s where you are crowned a funding hacker.
One of the cool things too is what it means to you to be a funding hacker, is you have access that other people don’t have. You get to be taught the things that nobody else is teaching. You get a team of people who are going to lead from the front and who will defend you fiercely. I can’t count the number of times I have overheard phone calls with Merrill on a call with a lender, with a CPA, with an attorney where he is explaining, what is happening and what we’re doing? The end result in every case is better for our client. It’s better for you as funding hackers because we’re living it. We don’t mess around with theory. Merrill’s a hundred and something thousand in approvals in the last quarter.
We’re growing our fundability and credit lines. We’re growing our personal funding.
When I say Merrill, I mean the business lines. It’s one of those things, but we will defend you fiercely and we will get on the phone with your lenders and make sure they’re doing what is right. Most of the lenders you talk to, the loan officers, they don’t know what’s going on either. The number of times that we’ve had people tell us directly, “No, that’s not even possible. You can’t do that. We don’t have that. That’s not even a thing we offer.” They come back a day later, two days later and go, “I asked the question as you asked me to and it turns out we do have that and we can do that.” It happens a lot. We will go to battle with you. We’ll go to battle for you. We will always be leading from the front so that when Merrill finds something new out at FICO World, you guys get it first. This is the only place you can get it because nobody else is going to tell you.
There is a high barrier of entry to be able to do the math, to build the program that our database encompasses and know how to rank a file’s contribution to a profile so that we can tell you exactly dates and times to open an account and close account. The point is that there is so much to know, but we get to synthesize. I am the geek who loves being neck-deep in this stuff so you don’t have to and you can say, “Merrill, here’s my problem. I need a solution.” Our entire bootcamp, every single piece of tech we do we start from the beginning. We don’t spout off tech. We show you how the things that you’re learning solve a client’s problem, solved a student’s problem, a real-life human being became fundable as the result of implementing these steps, these strategies or these tactics. People think the bootcamp is a sales thing and other people think it’s a university platform for credit. What it is we got solutions, let’s go down and use the tech to show how we solved your problems.
Imagine the bootcamp being like you have your car. If it’s a newer car, you’re going to take it into the shop. When you take it into the shop, the first thing that we’re going to do, unless they know exactly what was wrong with it coming in, they’re going to say, “Let us do some diagnostics on it.” That’s what we do with all of our clients is we do a diagnostics on their fundability. From that we end up with, “Here are your options.” Sometimes it’s straightforward. You need these three things and then we’re there. We’re submitting applications, but with your car, if they come back and they go, “Check it out. We’re getting an error on your spark plugs. We’re getting an error on your fuel filter, on your air filter. Your air filter you can probably get away with for a little bit longer, but the fuel filter is going to be a real problem that you might end up at the side of the road on a long deserted highway that you may not want to be on. The spark plugs, it’s going to really impact your efficiency and all the different things that impact the operation of the vehicle. What would you like to repair? Do you want us to do all of it? Do you want us to do part of it? Which part do you want us to do?” and you get to pick. With those diagnostics, we come in and we create and provide the solutions.
The worksheets we actually do in the bootcamp is diagnostic. People come out of there going, some are happy and I have to remind them that these documents, while they may feel discouraging to a couple of you, it’s actually the path to solving your funding problems because you cannot know where you’re going until you know where you are. They’re completely different directions depending on where you are. That’s what the bootcamp is designed to do. It’s to teach you the fundability principles and then diagnose your particular situation so that you can solve it. We can do it with you, you do it on your own or whatever it is, but you at least have actionable intel.
This show isn’t about the bootcamp like, “That message was brought to you by Funding Hackers. Are You F*able? Get F*able too.” It does come down to the reality of what funding hackers mean to us. It’s about mastering the game and playing at the highest level by the rules that are before us to play with. There are still, even post 2008 and pre-2008, what I’m about to describe, it was rampant. It was out of control. Post-2008, it’s been a little bit less, but it seems like its ramping back up. I’m starting to hear the drums beating again a little bit here and there. There are companies out there who are going to tell you, “I can fix your credit in 90 days, 30 days and 45 days.” Anybody who tells you that is lying to you. It’s going to cost you a ton of money. I’m going to tell you how they’re doing it, straight up. They’re going to go down to Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. They’re going to sit outside and they’re going to look at somebody who looks like they’re having the worst day of their life.
They pulled up in a crappy car that was smoke was coming out of it. The doors don’t shut all the way. They’ve got tape holding up the windows and they’re going to go up and they’re going to talk to them and go, “It looks like you’re having a bad day. What’s happening?” They’re going to engage them in a conversation. All of a sudden, they’re going to say, “It sounds like a couple of $1,000 extra a month could maybe help you out. Would that help you? I can make that happen for you.” “What are you talking about?” “I could get you an extra $5,000 to $10,000 a month.” Who’s not going to be intrigued in that conversation? They go, “How does that happen?” “What I’m going to need you to do is I’m going to meet you at McDonald’s and I’m going to give you the names of some people with their socials. I need you to go in and delete any negative stuff on their files.”
They’re going to go, “That doesn’t sound like a great idea. I promised I wouldn’t do that.” It’s an extra $1,000 per file. “What do you get paid to do your job?” They’re like, “Barely that.” “Are you in?” Eventually, they find somebody who says yes. Here’s the crazy part of this. In the olden days, they could get away with this for months and months and P.S., Lexington did not do this. Let me be very clear. That is not what I’m saying but they could get away with it longer because the technology was not where it is. Now, if somebody goes in and they start seeing unnatural activity in keystrokes of deleting trade lines or negative items on an individual account and that starts happening on multiple accounts, their workstation gets flagged by the quality assurance team. They come in, they look at that and they audit every single thing that got deleted. That person’s going to get fired.There are certain documents that might feel discouraging, but they're actually the way towards attaining fundability. Click To Tweet
It’s a criminal prosecution.
It’s against the law and their agreements with the company. The person who engaged them is going to skate scot-free. They’re going to fade off into the sunset and then wait to try to find somebody else later. That’s the cycle and you lose your money. If you’re the first or second one, good luck. You might make it through. Here’s the other kicker, with technology now, they can put the deletions back on. That’s illegal and garbage.
That’s black hat hacking.
There’s the other side of it. I got a phone call from somebody who said, “Would you guys put trade lines on my profile?” I said, “No, we don’t “put” tradelines on your profile. You apply for trade lines.” A trade line is a credit card. It’s a loan. It’s an auto loan. It’s a mortgage. That’s a tradeline. Anything that shows up on your credit report as an account is a tradeline. We don’t put them on and that has been a strategy in the past and you could pay somebody $5,000, $2,000, $3,000 and they would put a tradeline on your profile and they’d keep it there for a month or two. You’re basically renting someone else’s profile.
Someone else’s financial reputation.
Besides also being illegal, it’s fraud just so we’re all clear. It’s a practice that is artificial intelligence. If you have a history 24-month lookback period. If you don’t know about it, look at it, check it out. If you all of a sudden have a 24-month lookback period that overnight changes, you don’t think that flag a system somewhere?
All of sudden, they have 30 months’ worth of positive power behavior.
“Did you buy this house in 1998? That’s amazing. It wasn’t here.” All of that is fraud and garbage. The crap that has caused us to have an uphill battle that Merrill has to continually prove to Will Lansing.
It’s been an uphill battle. We offered to probably six different midline advisors at FICO mid-management. We said, “We have a show, Are You F*able?” They laugh their butt off. There were three of us. We had a couple of different conversations, but one of them was like, “What is that?” I said, “Are You F*able? Are you Fundable?” They got a kick out of actually seeing that we’re taking this thing on. Not selling multimillion-dollar technology black hat style out of the back of our station wagon in a park. We’re actually teaching borrowers in public, online, everywhere how to create fundable profiles that get the yeses but are completely legal. They said, “I’m on my way home. I love podcasts.” I said, “Like we told you in the beginning, the first episode, the origin story, it’s a little dark, DC comics.” First of all, it’s Brad and me again so it’s always entertaining but we’re not afraid. I’m not afraid of where the Genesis of this and shared it with these guys to go read the blog so they can start seeing literally what we’re truly teaching borrowers.
We’re not afraid of the evolution of it to where we are and the revolution that we’re starting as Get Fundable so that you can be a funding hacker so that you can capitalize on all of this. You can get what we tell everybody. You can get the most inexpensive money available to do your deals, build your business and grow whatever it is you’re doing.
Accomplish your financial goals and dreams.
That’s what it’s about.
What else is a funding hacker? Anything besides the cutting edge? Anything that we have missed? I want to make sure that you guys feel comfortable. Here’s what’s a fascinating part of my personal life. I am not known for coloring inside the lines, but when it comes to the instructions we give our clients. I’m connecting the dots that coloring outside the lines is coloring inside the lines. As Brad just shared, everybody out there is trying to black hat this process. Being the rebel is actually showing how to make it work and have the lender blessing. I use it all the time in the boot camp is that this is the pro ball. We want you to be a first-round draft choice. We want you to be that five-second player that when the heat is on, who do they give the ball because they know the highest percentage they’re going to make the basket. Are you that five-second player and we know how to make you that so that the lenders want to give you the ball of more and more funding, higher and higher limits and more and more loans? Personal business, commercial and etc.
We want you to be clutched is what that five-second player is. I have my list and I wrote down bullets when you asked me, how do we talk about what a funding hacker is? We did cover everything on my list.
Even the term funding hack, when it came to us, it resonated. We wanted to name the community. We were building this community. We’d already had several bootcamps and we’re sharing the bootcamps and archiving all that stuff. Brad was like, “What about funding hackers?” We’re like, “Yes.” For me, the filter was already white hat but funding hackers was like magic. Our war cry is Get Fundable but the tribe, you, me, Brad and everybody who participates with the show, the book, the bootcamps, clients and everybody. Your participation in this tribe is based on you. How big do you want to go? How much do you want to know?
For me, the reason it worked and it resonated so well is because I am a funding hacker. We are funding hackers, collectively. Everybody who’s reads this, we are funding hackers and that’s real. It’s a little edgy. It gives you a chance to at least have a conversation about what does that means? If every one of your friends is getting a tattoo and you don’t get a tattoo, you’re the rebel. That’s the reality. We are taking the Get Fundable Revolution to the next level. We want you to master your game. We want you to be a funny hacker with us. We want you to be one of the crazy ones that believe you can make a difference because then you will.
That difference is going to be to your loved ones, your family, your business and your employees. When you are F*able, your whole world changes. If you’ve been binging these, if this is your first one, being f*able is the game-changer. We’re glad you were able to join us. Being a funding hacker takes you being f*able to the next level, whatever your participation. We’re going to continue to invite you to grow that so that you become a master of this entire get fundable technology and the opportunities that come from it. Thank you, Brad, for joining me.