To confuse consumers even more, not all lenders follow the guidelines.

That may change on November 1, when lenders can use a new code to report them as a “loan modification under government program.” The code will clarify which borrowers have taken modifications, but because the modification process itself is not streamlined, it won’t be the only worm squiggling out of the can.

The bigger impact on credit scores may depend on how the loan was modified.

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