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9/23/2004

Seminar to cover credit reports

By Joyce Davis
The Daily Times-Call

LONGMONT — Experian. Equifax. TransUnion.

New galaxies? Planets? Comets?

They might as well be for how much we know about them, according to Bob Gholson.

The three credit reporting agencies have enormous power over one’s finances, said Gholson, founder of Credit Solutions of the Rockies.

“Credit runs your life,” he said. “And yet we don’t know anything about it. ... Most people have no idea what kind of information is in their credit report, let alone whether it’s accurate.”

Gholson, retired from a career with IBM, started Credit Solutions of the Rockies 10 years ago with his son, daughter and son-in-law.

The company will host a free seminar from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday at the Longmont Borders bookstore, 1101 S. Hover St.

According to Gholson, the seminar is designed to answer questions about credit reporting and to offer solutions for digging into the reports and fixing whatever may be wrong.

“It’s a way to free yourself from false information contained in your credit report to increase your cash flow,” he said. “We have studied credit reporting and we’ve discovered ways to clean up your report and to raise your score significantly.”

Gholson said 70 percent of all credit reports contain errors, according to a study by the Public Interest Research Group, a national organization designed to protect consumer rights.

“Credit scores don’t simply establish your credit worthiness; they also measure your integrity,” said Gholson. “These scores are now used for home and health insurance, for jobs, education, even for obtaining a cell phone or insurance for your car. You’ll pay higher interest rates on your car insurance if your credit score is low. Your insurance can vary by as much as 47 percent based on your credit.”

A perfect credit score, according to the reporting agencies, is 720 and above, which offers special financing and the best interest rates for home mortgages. A score of 660 and above allows a consumer to purchase a home with “no income verification,” Gholson said.

“A score of 620 and above will still get you a good rate with a low down payment on a mortgage or a car,” he said. “If you’re below a 620, or mid-score, you are considered ‘sub-prime’ — meaning interest rates can be very expensive, with a hefty down payment required.

“The rates become very important when you consider that a 2 percent difference in mortgage rates because of a low credit score can cost you $72,000 in interest over a 30 year period.”