Got Funding? with Merrill Chandler and Guest Co-Host Robert Orfino

TRE 23 | Fundability


People are not aware of their complete and absolute power over their fundability and their financial future. Merrill Chandler, the CEO and Chief Strategist of CreditSense, discusses how to get commercial lines of credit by preaching the gospel of fundability and changing the game. According to Merrill, lenders are looking and measuring how you treat other people’s money as reflected by your behaviors on your credit profile. Merrill dives deep into fundability and the three funding decisions or data points that are more important than your credit score.

Listen to the podcast here:

Got Funding? with Merrill Chandler and Guest Co-Host Robert Orfino

Need Money For Your Real Estate Deals?

We have a very special guest, Jason.

I’m excited because this is all about inexpensive money.

Yes and good money. Not stacks and stacks of bad money. I’ll go through this. We have a radio show and we have meetups and we do things that thousands of other people do across this country. When you and I said when we first started out, we weren’t going to have every guru come through here peddling their $9.97 piece of crap. We weren’t going to do it.

Yeah, a guy comes in that’s a lease option guy.

A tax lien guy followed by another lease option guy followed by the owner financing guy. It’s all the same thing.

It’s all garbage.

It’s all nonsense, but we did say, there’s probably five, maybe seven people. We were on the board up in that Phoenix building, we are identifying here are the seven people we want on and our guest was one of those seven. This is Merrill Chandler from CreditSense. He is one of the most honest and straightforward guys in this business when it comes to figuring out how to get funding. We’re not talking about hard money. We’re talking about being able to leverage, get some bank funding, credit funding and how to work the system. He’s probably the smartest guy I know when it comes to FICO and D&B stuff. Welcome, Chandler.

I’m so happy to be here. This is the whirlwind tour of Houston. Thank you for hosting me. I’ve known you guys for years and it’s been amazing to come down here. The meetups that we had, the quality of the people that you have that are following you. You asked everybody to raise their hands and everybody in the house was raising their hands. You have an amazing following and I’m happy to be here to throw in my two cents about the newest favorite F-word, Fundability.

You can't win a game unless you know the rules. Click To Tweet

Whenever you hear people talk about credit and bank lines and all that, they immediately think credit repair. I was one of those guys that always had a good credit score. I’m like, “I don’t need credit repair.” When you and I met, you said, “This is not credit repair. We are going to manage your credit profile in such a way that it’s attractive to an algorithm.” Maybe you could talk a little bit about that high level and then we can get into some specific questions.

The 10,000-foot view and I’m not going to put any conspiracy theories out there, but everything that we’ve been taught and trained in the financial world, there is a good credit and bad credit. It’s all polarity. I’m here to shift that conversation from good credit and bad credit to fundable or not fundable. I’ve seen 800 plus credit scores that have liens and judgments still on the credit report and they’re not fundable. I’ve seen individuals who have a 620 credit score, but they are madly fundable. Banks are willing to give them top tier rates for these because of what’s in the profile. A high credit score means you get more of what you already got.

If you’re a consumer borrower and you’ve got some mall store cards or credit cards from your favorite department stores and you have an 800 plus credit score, that means you’re going to get the very best rate and the high limit when you get your new Kohl’s, Victoria’s Secret or Home Depot card. Chase, Wells Fargo, PNC and BB&T, all the top tier banks are not going to give you a $50,000 business line of credit on your Home Depot reputation. It will never happen. We have to change the conversation from good credit, bad credit. We’ve been led to believe that scores are important or the single most important funding decision that you lenders have, but most people don’t know that it’s third or fourth in priority. There are three more important data points that are more important than your credit score. People don’t know this. Unfortunately, there’s also what we call FAKO scores and FICO scores.

FICO is the actual scoring body. Can you explain FICO a little bit? Is it a regulatory body? It’s a private group that manages credit scores. Can we talk about FICO versus FAKO?

FICO stands for Fair, Isaac and Company. Fair, Isaac in the ‘50s started developing algorithms and math to take data points from lenders and start assessing the creditworthiness of individuals and originally businesses. FICO is a private company but in the credit system, it is its own player. You’ve got lenders, you’ve got credit bureaus, you’ve got FICO and then there’s the borrower. FICO is this private company that developed an algorithm and they are even applying AI and Big Data. If you want to talk about Big Data, it’s FICO. It is not the credit bureaus. They’re record and data collectors. FICO is the one who’s looking at predictive analytics to predict human behavior, to protect lender money. They’ll know who’s safe to lend to base on the Big Data and the predictive analytics that they apply to all of this amazing quantitative analysis.

Their algorithms are pretty proprietary.

It is pretty predictive. It’s faithful and I trust it, but what we fail to understand and most of us think that there’s an adversarial relationship between lenders and borrowers. “I’m a good person. Give me some money and I’ll pay you back.” The banks are going, “You’re liars, cheaters and thieves. I need to mortgage your firstborn and everything that’s sacred and holy to you before I’m going to give you any money.” There’s a mad adversarial relationship. The thing is you can’t win a game unless you know the rules. What we do at Funding Hackers is we create this paradigm shift. We want people to be asking different questions. We want people to have an entirely different approach. Not good credit, bad credit, but are you fundable? What does a lender need to know about you to trust you with their money? How do we shape our behavior so we align ourselves exactly with what we can do for them to find us trustworthy and give us more money?

I go right on to and I get my information.

TRE 23 | Fundability
Fundability: 90 to 95% of all lending decisions are engineered or crafted by FICO.


You and 80 million other deceived souls. We talked about FICO. Depending on whom you ask, 90% to 95% of all lending decisions are engineered or crafted by FICO. They’re the ones who run the data. They’re the ones who create the score and they’re the ones lenders pull. The software’s on all lenders desktop computers, mainframe computers running the data. There’s what I’d call FAKO scores. FAKO score is any score that doesn’t have the FICO logo to it. That happens to Credit Karma and dozens of other credit monitoring services that do not use FICO scores. Credit Karma uses what’s called vantage score. It’s an attempt by the three credit bureaus to build an organization to compete against because they own all the data, but bureaus can’t score to their own data. They have to create another entity and teach that and that entity is building a different algorithm to measure.

No lenders use that score when making a lending decision. What happens is Credit Karma gets all of this because they’re giving out credit scores for free, and we’ve been trained to believe these credit scores are the most important feature of our financial picture. They have all of the Pied Piper playing. Everybody follows them blithely along not knowing what’s actually happening. That’s why we’re on this whirlwind tour. You guys are amazing to have us here because we want to preach the gospel of fundability and change the game. Give people a chance to make real decisions that are going to impact their funding decisions and what they’re trying to do, especially in real estate.

The way I describe what you guys do at CreditSense is you’re a dating service for credit. You’re going to take this hapless bachelor. He goes, “We’re going to get your hair cut right. We’re going to get you a suit that fits. We’re going to teach you how to talk and now we’re going to send you out into the dating market.” We’ve got to fix some things here, and it’s not having a fancy car or having the silver tongue.

Change fundamentals so that you know how to talk to a lady. All the financial institutions love the metaphor and I need to do a blog that compares the two because the lenders want to be wooed. They want relationships to be built with them. They want to trust you to be able to make sure that you’re not taking advantage of them.

Here’s what I found on the lending side. Once you’ve got one, then they all want to be around you. They all want to date.

It’s because women tend to support other beautiful, intelligent, capable and talented women’s opinions. They will be like, “Why is he so interested in her?”

They’re like, “This guy was a loser six-months ago and now all of a sudden, what’s going on here?”

I followed you and I’ve been a part of your organization for a while. We use your service and we love everything about what you guys do. I would say if you’re everywhere that Merrill is, you’re going to get dozens and dozens of nuggets. Talking about how to buy a car. It’s brilliant. What credit cards to get and what’s not? We do the names of the businesses and we’ll get into that but you’ve got three big hacks. Let’s not do all of them. Let’s write them out. Give us a big hack for folks that are looking for a business.

People love to know all the life hacks. Click To Tweet

What we have are the fundability hacks. As a disclaimer, we use hacks as the shortcut, the inside track to something. When we say we’re hacking funding algorithms from lenders, I’m the first one who asks to pull back from that metaphor because we all love life hacks. A story, I wanted to know how my dry cleaner pressed these perfectly designed shirts so that I can take them and put them into my suitcase. I go online and I find in one move, you can pick up a shoulder aside, turn it, lay it down and your shirt looks exactly like your shirt does in the photos or when it comes from the dry cleaner. That’s a hack. It changed my life. We’re going to be talking about literally dozens of financial and credit hacks. They fall into three categories. I call them secrets because nobody knows them and I’ve discovered them over 25 years of building this whole process of fundability. The first of all these secrets is that when you know the rules of the game, you can actually hack bank and FICO algorithms to the tune of obtaining $1 million in business credit lines.

Merrill, that’s a lot of credit cards I have to take out.

Not even credit cards. These are check writing, $100,000 business lines of credit, but as we were talking, it’s a dating game. You’ve got to know what it takes to create those. Number one is you’ve got to know the rules of the game. We’ll focus on some of those rules and what FICO is measuring and what we’re not even aware of is going on. If we know the rules, we can hack that insider’s shortcuts to getting a lender approval. Whether it’s personal or in our case business lines that we can write a check and do a deal.

That’s the gold standard in unsecured lines of credit that are not tied to some nonsense credit card special offer, here’s your $20,000 and go and do your thing. What you can do with those lines of credit is pretty incredible. You can do some lending. You can buy some properties. You can leverage a lot of stuff and they’re relatively inexpensive when compared to hard lending rates.

Prime plus one or prime plus two. We’re talking 5.5% to 7.5% in an 8% to 12% market for other types of funding. These are the holy grail. We call them trophy lines because when you’re playing the game well what do you come home from the championship? You come home with the trophy. That trophy is these credit lines but you’ve got to know how to play this game like a pro. This is no rec-center pickup game. We’ve got to know what those rules are and then implement them masterfully.

Give us an example. What are the rules of the FICO?

One of the fun things is that whole conversation we’re having. You’ve got to know who’s scoring your game. If you’ve got FICO scoring your game, that’s awesome, but there are some problems there you’ve got to be aware of. There are the FAKO scores. If it doesn’t have a FICO logo, you’re getting hit. That was what we talked about. Did you know that FICO actually has a relatively irrelevant score? We call it a marketing score. It’s a consumer-facing score. All the big banks giving, “Would you like your FICO score?” It comes up on your apps. It comes up on your websites. Anytime that you log in once a month they’d say, “Your new FICO score is available.”

Here’s the next level. FICO wants you to be aware of your credit score, like Credit Karma or anybody else. They do what we call a raw data score. It isn’t vertically integrated. It doesn’t have something to do with your mortgages, your car loans or others. It is a generic marketing score that FICO offers. Here’s what’s funny. No lenders use that score for lending decisions. It’s a marketing score, it’s a generic unweighted. If we’re saying, “We’ve got to know the rules of the game. We’ve got to know who’s scoring our game, but we’ve got to know which version. There are 28 consumer-facing versions of FICO software. There are three versions like Windows or Macintosh. There’s Version 9, Version 8 and what’s called Version 542. There are auto scores, mortgage scores, and unsecured Bankcard scores and there are three different bureaus. When our awesome audience out there goes to a bank, they don’t know what bureau’s being pulled. What score is being pulled and which version of the software they’re using. You have no idea what you’re going to walk into unless you even know the framework that we’re talking about.

TRE 23 | Fundability
Fundability: You can hack bank and FICO algorithms to the tune of obtaining $1 million in business credit lines.


We’re talking about buying a car. AutoNation may use FICO scoring 5, but Penske might use a three.

Three or an Equifax.

They’re not even pulling all three. They’re using one. It happens all the time. You go out and you get your Credit Karma and you’re like, “Look at me. I’m on a 720.” You walk into Penske and they’re like, “You’re at 690. I can’t give you the best loan yet.” You’re like, “No, here’s my credit card score.” They’re like, “No, we’ve pulled the right data.” A lot of it is the upgrade that they’d have to pay. Penske would have to pay a serious amount of dough to get to FICO 9 scoring. They choose not to.

That’s why Chase has 30,000 computers that have to upgrade with all this software. Everybody has different grades, different pull. You can even walk in with your FICO score from your bank and say, “Here’s my 720.” They’re pulling an auto score and something happened in your auto loan. We’ll get into wait.

It’s fair to say it’s a mess.

An organized mess.

What I find so fascinating about this particular subject is this is one of those areas where you can get bits and pieces from different places but you can’t put it altogether unless you do what you do and if you do it in a zillion years. The information is so random. I don’t want to say FICO hides it on purpose.

They do. You don’t have to, I’ll say that.

We are being measured unconsciously for our behavior. Click To Tweet

I don’t know if they try and hide it in plain sight or if they hide it completely. When you start talking about the different types of FICO scores for the different bureaus and you’ve got all the different algorithms and it’s changing. They were talking about in China of social media scores. Adding a credibility component to social media, I was like, “I’m going to have about a zero credit score at the end of this thing.”

It’s called Alipay.

I would imagine at some point FICO is going to start to embrace that.

They’ve already begun. In fact, I have had the opportunity to go to two FICO Worlds.

I think every credit repair gets to go, right?

Yeah, not a single one. In fact, FICO vetted us. We saw their IP address coming in from their offices to check us to make sure that we were not credit repair. Credit repair is not hacking a system. It’s actually gaming it. You’re trying to beat the system the way it was designed and it’s not trustworthy. There are solutions for people who have less than perfect credit because that’s one different way that you’re not fundable. You can be not fundable with a poor credit profile design. You could be not fundable by having draws.

Let’s take that bit. You may be unfundable with an 830 credit score or you may be fundable at a 600 credit score.

The lowest I’ve seen was a 620, but yes.

TRE 23 | Fundability
Fundability: There are solutions for people who have less than perfect credit.


620 you could be fundable and an 800, you might not be.

That is correct.

When people think, they’re like, “There’s a little bit more to this than the number on a sheet of paper.”

It’s not a debt-to-income ratio. It’s not the assets you have. This is one of the hacks that we’re going to talk about. The number one metric is what’s called the 24-month look-back period. Think of it as three months of behavior, whether it’s positive behavior, negative behavior, three-months of behavior is worth X. Six months of behavior is twice as valuable. Twelve-months is four X and 24-months of that behavior is sixteen X. It’s not sixteen times longer, but it’s sixteen times more valuable for the profile or against you. It’s log rhythmic. The further down you go, the faster it increases in its value. What that means is that FICO has designed.

Predictive analytics says that the longer you do a behavior, the more permanent that behavior is, whether it’s positive or negative. I run into it all the time at conferences where I’m speaking, where people will say, “I paid down all of my credit cards. I tried to get another credit card and they won’t give it to me.” I’m like, “Paying them down isn’t a metric that they measure.” Carrying zero balances for three months, they measure that but paying it off doesn’t buy you anything. What buys you anything is showing a consistent behavior over 3, 6, 12 and 24 months.

You pay that credit card down and you hold that zero balance for twelve months. You’ll see the benefits of it.

It doesn’t mean you can’t use the card. You have to show that it’s back down to zero and there are some technical details to that. The bottom line is that you can be fundable with less than perfect credit. You can be fundable with lower scores because it depends on what you’ve been doing for over the long period of time, 3 months, 6 months, 12 months and 24 months. It’s the same thing, that 800 plus score does not automatically buy you something. We’ve been told that that’s what we’re supposed to focus on. Score good, bad score, good credit, bad credit, that is not the paradigm that the lenders look at.

Anytime you take a meeting, you know what you want but you should have a pretty good idea of what that outcome looks like. Click To Tweet

Lenders don’t look at your score to decide to give you money. They look at how you treat other people’s money as represented by your behaviors on your credit profile. That’s what they’re measuring. That’s what they’re looking at. We’re off looking, “Squirrel,” and we’re off looking at our score and the lenders are over there going, “While they’re unconsciously behaving, let’s measure them to see if we want to give them money.” Let’s not do it unconsciously. Let’s do it consciously. Let’s make it a proactive approach and they only make money when they lend.

Let’s totally mess with people’s minds because you gave this away and I’ll try to repeat it as best as possible. If you’re paying your credit card early and you’re being a good steward of your credit, you get no extra credit at all.

You do not get extra points that are reserved for paying it on the due date.

If you pay it on the due date and do that for twelve months straight.

Three months, we know, but usually 6, 12 and 24.

You start getting much better extra credit. Merrill, this is beyond real estate though. I mean this is for your business, for all entrepreneurs.

This is anybody who’s looking to expand, to all your W2 people out there who are trying to augment. Here’s the thing, to shape your profile, we’re talking 3, 6, 12 and 24 months. This is not going to happen.

I can’t get $1 million in 30-days, right?

Yes. It’s a permanent long-term shift. The whole idea is that that’s the only people that we work with. Individuals who are committed to doing it differently and doing it well. Playing this game like a pro. You don’t become a pro borrower just like you don’t become a pro baller in a day, a week or a month. The whole idea is to do a long-term play. We never know what opportunities are coming to us and we don’t know when our priorities are going to change. I’ve had folks come to me after they’ve been a Dave Ramsey fan for a few years. I love the guy. His message is perfect for a certain demographic, but if you’re going to play the game of leverage, if you’re going to use rent, inexpensive money and use that money to turn profits as the banks and lenders do, that’s playing the game and you’ve got to have a stellar financial reputation.

TRE 23 | Fundability
Fundability: People don’t know that they have total power over their fundability and complete and absolute control over their financial future.


We call that a credit profile, but we’re talking about your financial reputation. They’re measuring us. When we know the rules of this game, they can let them measure us. Carl Jung, one of my favorite quotes of all time, he says, “Until we make the unconscious conscious, it will direct our paths and we will call it fate. We are being measured unconsciously for our behavior.” That’s the way the financial institutions want it. They want us blindly going along and then in the background they measure because they can trust an unconscious set of behaviors. The point is when we make deliberate, proactive decisions where we take charge and we build a financial reputation intentionally and on purpose, we are unstoppable. They’re not going to stop measuring us. They are going to measure what we want them to measure.

I tell you in our household, we have created a new religion. Catherine for sure is like, “You’re not doing a hard pull on me. We’ve already gotten to this. That’s not going to happen.” She’s calling up. Is this going and record it on our personal debt? Is this business debt?

Yes, how to vet a lender.

She’s asking all those questions.

That’s the point is to do all of this. Carl Jung notwithstanding to do this consciously, to make choices, so that we know what messages we’re sending out there. They will faithfully measure it. Imagine walking into a bank knowing that you are going to get a yes because you are crossing every I and dotting every T before you walk in the bank.

Anytime you take a meeting, you should already know the outcome.

You know what you want.

You should have a pretty good idea of what that outcome looks like. Let’s go back to the 24-month issue. One of the things that Rob, you’d said for years, it takes three years to get good at something. That’s if you’re aggressive. There’s a ton of research out there. If you’re going to go be a wholesaler, it’s going to take you three years to become an adequate wholesaler or a flipper.

It took our friend thirteen years.

I talked to a guy he’s doing 30 deals a month. He’s a monster. It’s the whole 10,000 hours. That’s what these guys are measuring. What they’ve been able to do is compress that into 6 months, 12 months, 24 months because they have some advanced machine learning and those things. They recognize that if I can get a snapshot of your life over the last 24 months, I’ve got a pretty good idea of predicting what the next ten years look like.

That’s all they need and that is going to predict the next 24 months. It gives us an opportunity to shape our future. Now that we know what they’re measuring, people don’t know that they have total power over their fundability.

There are only about five to seven people in this entire real estate education industry that we ever want to associate with and you’re one of them because you give it all away.

I’m happy to. An empowered business owner, entrepreneurs, real estate investors and note buyers. I want everybody to know what game is actually a foot and that they can play that game to win. If we can help, that’s what we’re here for. I’m going to tell you the truth of the matter, we’re going to be talking about going to Mount Olympus of the credit gods and the conversations I had with the CEO of FICO. Meeting with the score development teams.

It’s 281-401-9008, if you want to shoot Rob a text. Thanks, Merrill. We’re going to see you next time.


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About Merrill Chandler

TRE 23 | FundabilityMerrill Chandler, the CEO and Chief Strategist at, has been an influential player in the credit restoration industry for over 21 years and has co-founded numerous successful credit restoration firms around the country, including Lexington Law. Unsatisfied with the results of credit repair alone, Merrill has used his extensive knowledge of credit reporting and credit profiling to single-handedly invent and dominate the credit profile optimization marketplace.

Since 1997, Merrill and his staff of advisors have assisted real estate investors, business owners, entrepreneurs, and savvy consumers nation-wide to create FUNDABLE Tier 1, and even 800+ credit profiles. Today, CreditSense’s credit profile optimization process has no equal, especially for clients who want to leverage their financial reputations towards wealth and prosperity.

Through superior client relations, Merrill and his team have maintained an A+ Better Business Bureau rating for over 21 years.

Merrill is a compelling and knowledgeable keynote speaker and has addressed real estate investment conferences and businesses forums around the country where he has delivered his popular credit-empowerment forum, “Insider Secrets to an 800+ Credit Score.” Adventurous and passionate, he is an extreme sports enthusiast and enjoys traveling all over the world.

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