Our Security & Privacy Pledge
At Benchmark, we have dedicated ourselves to revolutionizing the home loan process and helping individuals use their home financing options as a tool to manage their financial lives. In that effort, we respect and protect the privacy of those who visit or use our Website. When we collect information from you, we want you to know how it is used. To demonstrate our commitment to fair information practices, we have adopted leading industry privacy guidelines.
Benchmark does not share your personal information with outside companies for their promotional use. Because of the financial nature of our business, our Websites are not designed to appeal to children under the age of 13. Therefore, we don’t knowingly attempt to solicit or receive any information from children.
Our Philosophy and Practices
At Benchmark, we want you to be comfortable and confident when using our Web site. Therefore, we would like to share with you the following principles that govern our information practices and other privacy aspects of our Web site:
We Provide You Notice of our Website Information Practices
To maximize the value of our services, we may request information from you when you visit our Web sites. Benchmark does not share your personal information with outside companies for their promotional use.
Here is a description of the information we collect and how it is used:
•Tools, Applications and Registration
We provide a number of ways for you to explore your options for mortgages and loans, so you can determine which options may be the most desirable for you. You can engage a number of tools, planners, calculators and other interactive advisors, such as the online interviews, without providing us your identity. We will not ask you for personally identifiable information to use these features, and do not attribute the information that you provide to you as an individual.
However, if you want to exercise one or more of the loan options presented, we will ask you to register at the site and supply other identifying and supporting information needed to process your application.
By registering, you can save information such as loan interviews and applications for later review and update. Benchmark does not share your information with outside companies for their promotional use. We may, however, use it to send you communications and special offers on other products or services offered by Benchmark. If you do not want to receive this information you may opt-out during registration, within any future communications or by sending an e-mail to optout@Benchmark.us.
We may also supply the information you provide, on a strictly confidential basis, to service providers, such as title companies, appraisers, credit reporting services, etc., who assist us in qualifying, processing, closing and servicing your loan.
By submitting a loan application or a request to be pre-qualified to us, you authorize us to share your credit report with our affiliates only to process your loan application.
More on our general information practices.
•Mandatory and Optional Information
We identify what information is required to fulfill your request. If you chose not to provide mandatory information, we will not be able to provide you the service you are requesting.
•E-mail Message Formatting
When sending you e-mail we may use an image called a single-pixel GIF, that allows us to (1) format messages that best align with your computer’s capabilities, and (2) determine whether you’ve opened an HTML e-mail. When you click on a link within an e-mail message, you will first pass through our server, and then are redirected onto the Internet. We use this data on an aggregate level to evaluate response rates to our e-mail messages and to determine which links are most useful to our customer base.
In some cases, we will employ or use service providers such as title companies, appraisers, consultants, temporary workers, third party software developers, to complete a business process or provide a service on our behalf. For example, we may use service providers to enhance our Website technology, deliver products, or to send e-mails. When we employ service providers, we may need to share your personally identifiable information. Service providers are strictly prohibited from using your personally identifiable information for purposes other than to act on our behalf.
•Service Alerts and Critical Notices
Although we respect and honor the privacy preferences you have expressed, we may need to contact you to inform you of specific changes that may impact your ability to use this service or for other critical non-marketing purposes, such as bug alerts. We may also contact you to respond to your specific requests, to clarify the order information you provided to us, or to notify you of upcoming subscription expiration dates.
•Change of Control
Your personally identifiable information may be transferred in connection with a sale, merger, transfer, exchange or other disposition (whether of assets, stock or otherwise) of all or a portion of a business of Benchmark. You will have the opportunity to opt out of further secondary use of your information following any change of control.
If we plan to make significant changes to any of our privacy policies or practices with respect to how we use personally identifiable information, we’ll post those changes to the Benchmark Website 30 days before they take effect.
In some cases we may disclose certain information to comply with a legal process, such as a court order, subpoena, search warrant, or law enforcement request.
We Work to Protect Personally Identifiable Information from Loss, Misuse or Unauthorized Alteration
All data you provide to Benchmark is safeguarded – by our employees, third party service providers and technology – to prevent loss, misuse, or unauthorized alteration. Our information security program informs our employees how Benchmark safeguards your personally identifiable information. We provide our staff training on our policies and procedures, and provide regular training on safeguarding, protecting, and securing personally identifiable information, as well as the steps to report any breach or attempted breach of our information security policy. Throughout the home loan process, we may use the services of a third party to act on our behalf. We thoroughly evaluate and monitor the third party providers we engage. Before conducting business with any provider, we review them for demonstration of responsibility, compatibility, and willingness to comply with our information security program, and ensure they have adequate technology controls. If our review is successful, the service provider must contractually agree to secure and maintain the confidentiality of personally identifiable information. Furthermore, providers are subject to ongoing assessment to evaluate consistency, performance and financial condition, and contract compliance. We employ industry recognized security safeguards to help protect the personally identifiable information that you have provided to us from loss, misuse, or unauthorized alteration. All data sent to Benchmark is protected with technology that enables encryption of your data. We use:
• Transport Layer Security (TLS) 1.2 and 1.3
The Benchmark web server supports the Transport Layer Security (TLS) 1.2 and 1.3 transaction protocol that is accepted as an industry standard. The purpose of this encryption protocol is to keep confidential the information passed back and forth between a Web server and its users.
•256-Bit Domestic Grade Strong Encryption:
Benchmark uses 256-Bit Domestic Grade Strong Encryption. (However, be aware that if you are using a browser that is out-of-date, we cannot ensure the maximum level of encryption is being applied. Please refer to your browser’s “Help” section to verify you are on the latest version, or check Windows Updates, if you are using Edge.) We work to protect personally identifiable information stored on the site’s servers from unauthorized access using industry standard computer security products, such as firewalls, as well as carefully developed security procedures and practices. All employees must review and sign a written statement of these practices which include limiting access to sensitive information to only those employees who require the information and enforcing strict password protocols for all employees. In addition, a username, member ID name and password are required for you to use, view or change application or interview information. We use both internal and external resources to review the adequacy of our security measures on a regular basis.
We Tell You How and Why We Use Web Technologies
Here is how and why we use some common Web technologies to help manage our Web sites:
A “cookie” is a small piece of information that our Website may provide to your browser while you are at our sites. The Benchmark Web site supplies your browser with cookies that contain a unique identifier used to better understand Website usage in the aggregate and on an individual level so we know what areas of our site users prefer (e.g., based on the number of visits to those areas). This is done through a tracking utility that allows us, for example, to reconstruct activity from a session or by a user, for troubleshooting and issue resolution purposes. Benchmark may also employ service providers to help us collect and understand our Web site usage data. We do not collect personally identifiable information about your online activities.
When periodic surveys are presented to Website visitors, cookies are used to prevent issuing multiple invitations to the same individual.
If you are a registered member on the Benchmark Web site, you will receive a cookie when you login. This cookie is maintained by your browser and contains your identifier. This cookie is also used to authenticate your identity and provide you with access to areas of our Web site that are limited to registered members, such as those that allow you to view and manage your personal profile.
If you simply want to browse, you do not have to accept cookies from our site. Should you decide, however, that you would like to register and sign in to special areas of the Web site and you have modified your browser settings not to accept cookies, you will need to reset your browser to accept the cookies that we send. Otherwise, you won’t be able to participate in certain areas of the Website. Most browsers are defaulted to accept and maintain cookies. Benchmark will protect visitors’ privacy by honoring visitors who request not to be tracked in their browsers settings.
•Web Site Usage Data
Our Website tracks usage data, including, for example, your IP address, your browser type and version, which pages you view, which page, if any, linked you to our site, and which link, if any, you follow off of our site. We use this data in the aggregate and on an individual level to better understand Website activity to improve our site offerings, to reconstruct activity from a session or by a user, for troubleshooting and issue resolution purposes. We may also use this data to provide you a more personalized Website experience, assistance with technical support questions, and to send you special offers, product and service updates, or other promotional materials that are relevant and tailored to your interests. If you do not want to receive these offers or promotions, simply indicate your contact preferences during the registration process, within any future communications or by sending an e-mail to optout@Benchmark.us. We do not share your information with outside companies for their promotional use. We do not track URLs that you type into your browser, nor do we track you across the Internet once you leave our site.
We Give You Choices about How the Personally Identifiable Information that You provide to Us May be Used.
We give you the opportunity to control the use of your personal information for purposes other than to fulfill your request or as is required to process, close and subsequently service your loan. For example, on occasion we may use your contact information to send you promotional communications about Benchmark products. If you do not wish to receive such communications, you may specify your contact preferences during the information collection process or you may call toll-free (972) 398-7676 or send an e-mail to optout@Benchmark.us.
We Provide you the Opportunity to Update or Correct your Personally Identifiable Information
We provide you the opportunity to update or correct the contact and loan application information that you have provided to us. You may review and update information stored in your application online until you submit your application. Once you have submitted your application, you may only change the information by directly contacting Benchmark at (972) 398-7676 or e-mailing us at support@Benchmark.us.
We Provide Various Ways for You to Contact Us about our Information Practices and Other Aspects of Privacy.
If you are a California resident, please review our California Consumer Privacy Act Policy.
California Consumer Privacy Act
The California Consumer Privacy Act provides some California residents with additional rights.
Right to Know
You have the right to know and see what data we have collected about you over the past 12 months, including:
- The categories of personal information we have collected about you;
- The categories of sources from which the personal information is collected;
- The business or commercial purpose for collecting your personal information;
- The categories of third parties with whom we have shared your personal information; and
- The specific pieces of personal information we have collected about you.
Right to Delete
You have the right to request that we delete the personal information we have collected from you. There are a number of exceptions, however, that include, but are not limited to, when the information is necessary for us or a third party to do any of the following:
- Complete your transaction;
- Provide you a good or service;
- Perform a contract between us and you;
- Protect your security and prosecute those responsible for breaching it;
- Protect the free speech rights of you or other users;
- Comply with the California Electronic Communications Privacy Act (Cal. Penal Code § 1546 et seq.);
- Comply with a legal obligation; or
- Make other internal and lawful uses of the information that are compatible with the context in which you provided it.
You also have the right not to be discriminated against for exercising any of your rights.
Information We Collect
We collect information that identifies, relates to, describes, references, is capable of being associated with, or could reasonably be linked, directly or indirectly, with a particular consumer or device (“personal information”). In particular, we have collected the following categories of personal information from consumers within the last twelve (12) months:
|How data is used
|Identifiers, such as your name, date of birth, social security number, copy of government issued identity card, mailing address, present address, previous addresses, telephone numbers, email address
|Data is used to pull your credit report and a part of our processes to validate your identity
|Characteristics, such as ethnicity, race, sex, age, citizenship status, marital status, number of dependents, ages of dependents, military or veteran status, service connected disability
|Ethnicity, race and sex data is collected per requirements of the Home Mortgage Disclosure Act. Other data is collected to ensure that we identify the loan programs for which you might qualify as well as to determine what documentation may be required from you to determine if you qualify for a mortgage loan
|Financial Information, such as bank or other financial institution accounts, credit history, financial transaction history, income, salary, other compensation, real estate owned, judgement history, bankruptcy history, foreclosure history
|Data is used to determine if you qualify for a mortgage loan.
|Education, such as number of years of schooling
|Data is used to determine if you qualify for a mortgage loan.
|Household information, such as number of persons in a household (USDA loans only), household income (USDA loans only), dwelling type of subject property
|Number of persons in household and income of household is required for USDA loans, as this loan program is only available in certain rural areas and qualifying for the program considers the entire household.
Dwelling type of the subject property is used as part of qualifying the loan and ensuring the property value is in line with the loan amount.
|Employment information, such as occupation or title, name of employer, number of years on the job, number of years in line of work, W-2 or paystub records, hire dates and termination dates
|Data is used to determine if you qualify for a mortgage loan and that your income is in line with your occupation and experience.
We do not collect biometric information or sensory data.
Personal information does not include:
- Publicly available information from government records.
- De-identified or aggregated consumer information.
- Information excluded from the CCPA’s scope, like personal information covered by certain sector-specific privacy laws, including the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FRCA), the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act (GLBA) or California Financial Information Privacy Act (FIPA), and the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act of 1994.
We collect personal information from various sources, including:
- Directly from a California resident or the individual’s representatives
- Service providers, consumer data resellers and other third parties
- Public record sources (federal, state or local government sources)
- Website/Mobile App Activity/Social Media
- Information from our affiliates
We disclose personal information to third parties for the business purposes described in this policy. The categories of third parties to whom we disclosed personal information are:
- Vendors and service providers who provide services such as website hosting, data analysis, payment processing, order fulfillment, information technology and related infrastructure, customer service, email delivery, auditing, marketing and marketing research activities
- Third parties who enable customers to conduct transactions online and via mobile devices and support mortgage and fulfillment services
- Government agencies as required by laws and regulations
- Affiliates of Ark-La-Tex Financial Services, LLC dba Benchmark Mortgage, Benchmark Home Loans or Benchmark Lending
Do You Sell My Personal Information?
No, we do not sell your personal information.
How And Where Do You Collect Personal Information?
We collected most of this information directly from you, either during a mortgage application or as we service your mortgage loan. Personal information includes social security number, employment history and bank account numbers. We collect and secure all of this information in accordance with federal regulations. We also may receive information from other sources, such as an internet advertiser, a mortgage lead generator, your prior mortgage servicer, or government entities from which public records are maintained.
We also gather information using cookies and other online tools and technology. In other words, we collect some information about our anonymous website visitors, but we do not attempt to identify our visitors by name or profile. We only identify you by name when you submit a web form with your personal information or log into/register on our customer portal.
Will You Delete My Information If I Request You Do So?
Maybe. The CCPA requires businesses that collect personal information directly from consumers to delete such information upon request, unless the deletion request is subject to an exemption. Information we collect, store, or share in connection with providing you a mortgage loan is exempt, because your financial information is already regulated by federal law. Per federal law, we use administrative, physical and technical methods to safeguard your information. Even if you are not a customer, we might need to keep some of your information in order to comply with a legal obligation. While we may not delete your information, we will always use it for a lawful purpose.
Can I Request A Copy Of What You Collected Or Shared?
In some cases, yes. The CCPA refers to this as your “Right to Know.” However, the CCPA does not apply to most of the information that we collect or share in our role as a mortgage lender or servicer. We will not include any of that information in your “Right to Know” response. We might have other information that is not exempt.
California Resident – Requests to Know and Requests to Delete
California residents may request the categories or specific information we have about you or request that we delete your personal information as defined under the California Consumer Privacy Act.
California residents may make this request through one of the following methods:
By internet: https://altfsprivacy.truyo.com/consumer/index
By phone: 888-262-2272
RESPONSE TIMING AND FORMAT – We aim to respond to a consumer request for access or deletion within 45 days of receiving that request. If we require more time, we will inform you of the reason and extension period in writing. With every request received, we will first validate your identity before releasing any personal information, to protect you and us from fraudulent activity.