A firm offer of credit is a letter or email that goes out to a potential borrower to let them know that they most likely qualify for credit with a lender.
Lenders can get credit data on potential borrows (without harming their credit) to see who may qualify for credit. Once a lender obtains this information, if a person meets their lending standards, they must send out an offer of credit to that potential borrower. This can be done via email or direct mail, and gives the consumer an opportunity to reach out to that lender for additional information.
This process is made possible by the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA), which was designed to protect the consumer from harmful lending practices. With out the FCRA, lenders could send offers to anyone, including those who do not qualify as borrower. The lenders would then pull credit, harming the credit of those that do not qualify. Through prescreening, lenders are less likely to pull a hard credit inquiry on those who do not qualify to borrow. 4
If you've ever received a letter in the mail saying that you are prequalified for a credit card or a loan, the FCRA is how that lender was able to obtain your information.
MonitorBase offers credit prescreening to lenders on their own contacts and past clients. When contacts are uploaded, MonitorBase watches that person's credit to see when they may be in the market for a new mortgage or qualify for a refinance. Once a potential borrower is identified, a firm offer of credit is sent out via email and direct mail, letting that person know that a loan officer is ready to help them out.