| By Greg Fisher
From: Greg Fisher [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
Sent: Wednesday, January 22, 2014 3:15 PM
To: Wanda Roberts, expert, educator, Financial Literacy, Michigan State University Extension
Subject: credit score, employers, State of Michigan, as a bryd that retorneth
Wanda J. Roberts
Michigan State University Extension
In a document dated January 21, 2014 and titled "A good credit score could help you get a job," you state
What does your credit score say about you? Love it or hate it, our credit score continues to be an important tool. It's not only used to predict how well we will pay back money we borrow or decide how much we will pay for auto insurance, it is also frequently used to determine our employability.
In the December 2013 edition of Idaho's 2 Cent Tips, Luke Erickson with the University of Idaho Extension, Madison County shared some insight about the common practice of employers using credit scores to eliminate job applicants. A group of professors from Louisiana State University and several other universities (Bernerth, et. al, 2012) wanted to know if using a person's credit score as a screening tool would ultimately give the employer a high performing employee.
Employers do not use credit scores. I looked into it.
Five years ago, I asked the main three national credit bureaus if they provide scores for employment purposes. All three told me that they do not. Subsequently, I wrote to Jeremy Bernerth of Louisiana State University, the man whose work you cite, to no avail. But, if you look closely, you can see a crack in the facade of the Ivory Tower. The word scores mysteriously vanished on one of Rupert Murdoch's websites. Poof! It just disappeared!
Unfortunately, an abstract of the LSU research exists on a federal government server and falsely states, "Many organizations use credit scores as an employment screening tool, but little is known about the legitimacy of such practices."
Little indeed. Little is known about the mere existence of such a practice, and that is because it exists only in imaginations.
Of course, I cannot prove that one credit score was not used for employment purposes by some person at some moment in history (on some planet). Nor can I prove that little green men from Mars don't exist, or that a teapot does not orbit the sun. But, I'm thinking not.
This pathetic but high-powered scenario played out on the Internet over and over in the past half-decade and it must stop because the consequences are now serious. If you have evidence that a credit score was used to determine somebody's employability, please provide it. If not, please make another statement as vociferous as yours above to offset and counteract the nonsense, and to ensure that your citizens are not misinformed and do not have the daylights scared out of them again by a ridiculous urban legend. With the 2nd highest unemployment rate in the nation, Michigan doesn't need one more thing to worry about or to needlessly spend money on.
Ask one of your most famous alumni, Dan Gilbert, Fathead. Ask one of your columnists in Detroit whose commonsense way of dealing with something so unbelievable alerted me to this stupid rumor. Ask the writer in Kalamazoo who finally figured it out, but whose parent company has taken on too much. Ask the state legislator in Warren who said, "If employers are allowed to continue using credit scores in hiring decisions, many hard-working people will be unfairly penalized" who, by now, has probably realized his gaffe.
If you do nothing else, ask yourself. There is enough blame to go around.
And, if you want to see something very strange, ask the man in Grand Rapids who pointed out a very peculiar use of credit scores, and then watch what will happen next.
Of course, this odd tale is fraught with implication for truth.
In a false item dated November 2, 2015, Erica Tobe, Michigan State University Extension writes
Pay your bills on time: The biggest component to your credit score is your payment history. Late payments and nonpayment to any creditor will be recorded on your credit report, which could lower your score. A low score can affect your ability to access new credit and could influence the interest rate you receive for new credit. Also, it could affect your ability to get a job and influence the amount you may pay for insurances.
Work of Jane Dokko, Geng Li and Jessica Hayes caused her to write about consumer reporting. #1510D