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Emily's list: Tougher lending edition
The Mortgage Bankers Association released a quarterly performance report in late June that gives great insight into what's happening in the world of mortgage loans. In a Time article, it pointed out one of the more striking numbers: "46 percent of all loans written in the first quarter were to borrowers with credit scores over 750."
It was only 29 percent in the third quarter of 2008, which is when Lehman Brothers crashed and burned. But Time notes that it hasn't risen due to the fact that consumers have better credit; it's because lending has tightened and it's harder for just anyone to get approved.
For those who already have a decent credit score and pay their bills on time, Time offers these suggestions for building up an even better credit score:
1. Thoroughly review your credit reports and dispute anything that isn't completely accurate, even if it says you're using up a higher percentage of credit line than you actually are.
2. Be sure to use your credit cards from time to time, as not using them at all will indicate a lack of revolving credit. This will, ironically, damage your credit score.
3. Conversely, don't overuse credit. Keep your utilization rate low, which is the percentage of your available credit that you use at any one time.
For more tips that will help improve your credit and finances, read on for my list of the top 10 best personal finance blog posts in the past week.
1. Consumer Boomer weighs whether it is better to focus on saving for retirement or paying off debt.
2. Brip Blap outlines what he spends money on and why, in addition to why being a spender is not always a flaw.
3. Cash Money Life discusses financial infidelity and how hiding your finances can affect your money and relationship.
4. Free From Broke explains why being in debt doesn't make you a bad person, and why you're headed in the right direction as long as you are willing to work on it.
5. I've Paid Twice for That Already lists some of the most effective ways for getting rid of your debt and back onto stable financial ground.
6. Own the Dollar explains why naming your saving accounts can be effective -- something I also swear by!
7. Personal Finance by the Book tells readers about the differences between debt consolidation companies and debt settlement companies.
8. If you don't yet use a money management software, Stupid Cents lists five money management programs that can help you organize your finances.
9. Money Reasons questions those who rack up debt or spend carelessly because they expect a future inheritance to come their way.
10. Mr. & Mrs. Not Made of Money discuss the pros and cons of taking a loan from family members rather than relying on savings, credit cards or other loans.
They're the pieces of plastic we love, and love to hate. Get the latest news, tips, research and more from the CreditCards.com staff.
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