PART ONE
The Credit
Scoring Site

A bleak account
PART TWO
creditaccuracy.com
Dirty Data
Google
Web     creditscoring.com     creditaccuracy.com



creditscoring.com
in the media

Clark Howard
USA Today
Newsweek
Chicago Tribune
The Christian Science Monitor
HowStuffWorks
Federal Reserve
Credit Repair
The Detroit News
The Columbus Dispatch
The Augusta Chronicle
Bankrate.com
Bankrate.com
Realty Times
Nolo
About.com
MoneyCentral Radio
Realty Times
Money Maze Radio
Updates
Blow by blow, from day one

Index | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000 | 1999 | 1998

12/28/00

12/21/00
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development: HUD's Regulation of the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and the Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) - "More information on the distribution of credit scores and on the effects of implementing automated underwriting systems is needed... The scoring algorithm is proprietary and therefore it is difficult, if not impossible, for applicants to know the reasons for their scores."
  • Study Chides Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac For Lax Activity in Low-Income Areas - "Perhaps more importantly, HUD is currently reviewing the new computerized underwriting systems that the companies use to determine which loans they will purchase, to find out if the systems discriminate against minorities."
12/19/00
  • The Hawthorne Effect: "If you are aware someone is watching [alt, 2014-10-14] your behavior you might change your normal habits to reflect what you think they want to see." - a Fair, Isaac spokesman
  • Consumer Reports Magazine, January, 2001: New assault on your credit rating - "But an anti-consumer status quo will remain unless lenders are required to lift the veil of secrecy enshrouding much of the business."
11/28/00
  • washingtonpost.com: Show Us Our Scores
    • Comedy: arrow10.gif - 5.4 K "The terms of our contract with the credit-reporting agencies prevent either of us from disclosing scores without the other's permission." - a Fair, Isaac spokesman
    • Incorrect: "A code 10 means a consumer has substantial balances on revolving accounts relative to the amount of credit available. This is the single most important factor affecting a credit score." Should be "... affecting this guy's credit score."
  • more flubs; from Forbes: "... Fair Isaac's 900-point scale... " (should be a 600 point scale... Fair, Isaac says "FICO scores range from the 300s to the 900s... ")
  • More happiness with instant credit repair (see earlier link, 11/22/00): Rapid Credit Dispute Process: Everyone Wins
    • After the credit and credit reporting industries botch your report... : "... it's the consumer's responsibility to secure the necessary documentation from the creditors in question and forward them to a credit specialist."
    • You get to pay because they botched it: "Due to the labor intensity involved, the credit reporting companies charge for this speedy service."
    • A lightning four-year campaign: "In June of 1996, the National Association of Mortgage Brokers formed a Credit Scoring Committee to analyze the credit scoring process and its impact on originating mortgage loans. 'Our charge was to improve the process of credit scoring and its use.'"
11/22/00
  • Three months to three days; The answer to Question No. 3 of the Big 25
    • "... erroneous credit information can be manually updated at each of the Big Three credit information repositories (Equifax, TransUnion and Experian) in 72 hours or less. According to INFO1, correcting information at the repository level is the only way to affect a borrower's credit score."
    • Testimony before Congress: "... the Bureaus usually get no corrections from the reporting creditor because there is no coordination of the communication between borrower, creditor and Bureau. The borrower's hopes, consequently, are falsely raised and subsequently dashed. Meanwhile, the borrower loses two to three precious months and has not achieved any results... The only word fit to describe the existing condition process is 'disgraceful.'"
  • Repackaging for extra mileage: Your bill-payment history determining your insurance rate or approval
    • National Association of Mutual Insurance Companies
      • "We dodged the bullet this year, and we plan to strongly oppose any legislation against credit scoring next year."
      • "Scores between 620 and 650 (average FICO scores fall into this range) indicate basically good credit... " (but this says the average is more like 700-750-- not that they're sure, themselves)
    • The insurance industry: Users, but not contributors
11/21/00
  • Most people have a score of...
    • Fair, Isaac
      • 1999, in a national forum: "Okay. We saw all of those numbers, so where do they come from? Well, we do not sit around the water cooler at Fair, Isaac and kind of pull them out of our ears, which again may come as a surprise to people. I read something just last week that talked about the scoring model assumes that. Well, scoring models don't assume anything. All of the numbers that are in those scoring models are the result of very painstaking, detailed statistical analysis of real data."

        "In most cases it's somewhere in the 600s."

      • 2000, on their Web site: Chart showing only 27% of the people have scores in the 600s
    • Mortgage Bankers Association:
  • creditscoring.com, four stars. fairisaac.com, three stars.
  • Higher Education: What's the Score? Only the Scorekeeper Knows - "Imagine a television quiz show in which contestants are asked questions but never told if their answers are right or wrong... a similar game is played thousands of times daily across America. It's the So-You-Want-a-Mortgage-Loan Game."
  • In the United Kingdom, the Office of Fair Trading: Keeping score on lenders - "... the OFT is reviewing lenders' scoring procedures, and feels it is high time for the credit industry to amend its Guide to Credit Scoring." "... and also to ensure systems are treating consumers fairly, and as far as is possible, that they are transparent... As these sensitive issues increasingly affect us all, the OFT is determined to see the credit scoring industry respond to the new challenges they face in this area."
  • Credit Union Executive Society: "FICO scores have been proven a far better indicator of predicting the probability of default than debt ratios... The credit union recognizes that our good members with good FICO scores can get credit anywhere without showing their paystubs."
  • Inquiries
    • Gartner Says Online Lending Industry Needs to Correct Credit Scoring Methods - "Consumers have found the Internet to be an effective tool in finding competitive rates for loans, but while doing these searches online, many consumers are damaging their credit rating, according to Gartner Group, Inc... 'Today's credit scoring algorithm is not appropriate for online credit and lending applications, and it must be revised before it seriously undermines consumers' trust and retards the growth of e-lending.'"
    • Be Careful When Pre-qualifying Online - It's convenient to pre-qualify for a home loan online, but you can hurt your credit if you sign up with too many lenders
  • FICO score 600, odds of a delinquent account: 4.5 to 1
    FICO score 700, odds of a delinquent account: 288 to 1
    FICO score 780, odds of a delinquent account: 576 to 1
11/20/00
  • Standard and Poors: Fourth-Quarter 1999 LTV Ratios, FICO Scores, and Credit Support Levels for Residential Mortgages - "Average FICO scores for 30-year pools crept up slightly to 724 in the fourth quarter of 1999... "
  • "This portfolio of higher-yielding loans, which totaled $32 million at June 30, 1999, also generates higher levels of charge-offs as a result of their lower average credit quality (evidenced by an average FICO score of 619)."
  • "The pool consists of approximately 22% new vehicles, has a weighted average APR of 14.62%, and a weighted average FICO score of 646."
  • Wharton: The Consumer Credit Research Program
    "An individual's credit score measures his average probability of default in isolation. Strictly speaking this measure is relevant only to a lender holding only that individual's debt, whereas most lenders hold large portfolios of debt. E.g., if Nevadans default relatively less when people in other states default relatively more, and vice versa, then loans to Nevadans bring insurance benefits to a diversified portfolio of consumer debt, which lenders should take into account in their credit-granting decisions."
  • A court document: "The top FICO score is 800."
    Fair, Isaac: "FICO scores range from the 300s to the 900s... "
  • Massachusetts Division Of Banks: Proposed Revisions To Annual Reporting Forms For Mortgage Lenders And Small Loan Companies - "Average Credit... 620-659"
    Fair, Isaac: "A score of 670 is below average."
11/09/00
  • The Secret Factor List: Fannie Mae discloses a more fundamental list than even credit bureaus or score creator. The credit bureaus offer to mail it to you.
  • Fannie Mae Surveys:
    • Understanding credit quality
      • 1999: Half of American Adults Misunderstand the Effect of Bad Credit on Their Ability to Qualify for a Mortgage... - Knowledge of Credit As a Barrier to Homeownership - "The level of misinformation about the relationship between paying bills on time and being able to qualify for a mortgage is of great concern."
      • 2000: "Seventy-eight percent of our survey respondents see themselves as having an excellent credit rating... Overall only 10 percent of Americans overall admit to a poor credit rating."
      • 2000: One of six factors identified by consumers as extremely important to the home buying process: "being told all the factors that went into the lender's decision when evaluating creditworthiness (72 percent)."
  • Los Angeles Times: Consumers May Be in for a Surprise About What Hurts, Helps Credit Rating - "Myth: There are different FICO scores for different industries... Reality: The FICO score does not have industry-specific versions." (?)
  • Credit scoring for student loans
  • Zero-down Mortgages on the Horizon - "The software uses not only credit scoring technology, but also blends in economic data about the market where the house is located... MGIC Investment Corp., says, 'It's amazing isn't it---a $250,000 mortgage with nothing down?' But that's precisely what's already quietly available to applicants with top credit histories... Traditionalists may shake their heads and worry about zero-down. But the insurance and credit score developers say there's nothing sacred about the downpayment, and they've got the added risk covered."
  • WomensFinance.com: Credit Scoring: How Lenders Evaluate Your Credit - "The formula considers a balance above 75% as a warning sign of impending trouble."
    Fair, Isaac (not as specific, even in a sample): "Paying down your revolving account balances is a good sign that you are able and willing to manage and repay your debt, and this will increase your score."
  • AP: They Have Your Number - "Similar measures have been proposed by Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., and Rep. Harold E. Ford Jr., D-Tenn., who had a nasty experience with a mistake on his credit record in 1996 that he says still hasn't been rectified. His bill would entitle consumers to one free credit report, including the score, from each credit bureau every year.

    "'It sort of raised a red flag with me,' said Ford. He noted that a number of other young, black professionals he knew also found "their reports were riddled with errors and it affected their ability to get favorable terms."

  • National Bar Association, 75th Convention Agenda, August, 2000: Seminar #43, "Predatory Lending Practices And The Discriminatory Implications of Beacon Scoring (Credit Ratings): Impermissible Considerations"
  • Newsweek (Nov. 13, 2000) quotes creditscoring.com on the big secret: "'They act like it's a matter of national security,' says Greg Fisher... "
11/03/00
  • Fair, Isaac FICO Guide Service - "Special note to consumers: At this time you will not be able to obtain your FICO score using this service."
    • SAMPLE FICO GUIDE: 60% of U.S. consumers have scores of 700 or more; 11% have 800+
    • Fair, Isaac Offers Lenders and Brokers Clear Explanations of FICO Scores for Their Clients
    • "Can my borrower sign up for your service directly?"
      "Yes, consumers can register for the FICO Guide™ service if they meet the above criteria."
    • "How much does the FICO Guide service cost?"
      " There is a fee of $8 for each analysis requested. All costs are payable by credit card only."
  • U.S. Banker: A Score to Settle - Consumer demand is high for credit scores. What's the holdup? - "The FICO credit score is at the center of a quiet but fierce battle being waged among credit reporting titans Trans Union LLC, Experian and Equifax Inc., and Fair, Isaac & Co., which created the ubiquitous credit-scoring formula."
10/22/00
  • Washingtonpost.com: Live Online - Credit Scoring with Craig Watts of Fair, Isaac and Company, Inc.
    • Dates
      • Washington Post: "Founded in 1956, Fair, Isaac's founders introduced the FICO score and credit scoring in the 1960s... "
      • Fair, Isaac, 1999: "credit bureau risk scores: celebrating ten years"
    • Delays
      • Fair, Isaac: "We're excited about our plans to provide consumers later this summer with their FICO score... "
      • Fair, Isaac on MSN: "Manager Craig Watts indicated that the company is negotiating with one of the big three consumer-credit agencies to provide the scores, and an accompanying explanation, by the end of the year... "
    • Secrets
      • Fair, Isaac: Today some mortgage lenders will share your score and the reasons behind it... "
      • Freddie Mac: "Contract agreements between lenders, credit repositories, and Fair, Isaac reportedly may inhibit credit score disclosures to consumers."
      • Countrywide Home Loans: "Again, the agreement that we have with Fair, Isaac, is that we are not to release that score." (see #19 of The Big Questions for the Big Meeting)
      • Fair, Isaac: "Fair, Isaac expects and encourages the credit reporting agencies to make sure their agreements with subscribers and resellers are consistent with their contracts with us."
    • Top 20: "If your 780 score was a FICO score, it was indeed impressive -- you were in about the top 20 percent of U.S. consumers."
    • Numbers (not on their web site)(also, see Fun with Numbers)
      • Fair, Isaac: "FICO scores range from the 300s to the 900s... "
      • Fair, Isaac: "... the range is from somewhere in the low 300's to something close to 900."
    • "Manipulation"
      • Fair, Isaac, June, 2000: We don't think FICO score manipulation is a problem today.
      • Fair, Isaac, July, 1999: We don't want you altering your behavior to change the score... We don't want to have consumers trying to alter their behavior in short term ways... "
  • Fair, Isaac reacts to Eloan: Fair, Isaac and score disclosures
    • Explanations
      • Fair, Isaac: "Lenders have access to information including what's on the consumer's credit report, the credit score factor reasons, and the credit application the consumer filled out, and are experienced in using this information to help consumers better understand how they can improve their eligibility over time for the lender's products."
      • A long-time lender: "They're asking us to educate the consumer. Please educate me first."
    • "Fair, Isaac expects and encourages the credit reporting agencies to make sure their agreements with subscribers and resellers are consistent with their contracts with us."
    • The broken record: "First, there is no single credit bureau risk score."
    • "We agree with Congress and the Federal Trade Commission that a lending decision is the right context for any disclosure of credit bureau risk scores and score-related factors."

      When, and in what document, did Congress state that?

    • "We believe that credit bureau risk scores would be useful to consumers only in the context of a lending decision... "

      Their disclosure plans don't mention that caveat.

10/18/00
  • FTC Testifies on Credit Scoring - "... the Federal Trade Commission said that it 'supports the disclosure of credit scores and information regarding those scores in a context that is useful and meaningful to consumers'... The Commission vote authorizing the testimony was 5-0."
  • In California - "Lobbyists for the banking industry proposed amendments to the bill that would have required real estate agents to bear the burden of informing consumers of their score rather than lenders."
  • Secret credit scores used by California insurers

    "There is an incredible relationship between poor credit and how many losses people will have." - Sue Francesconi, Allstate

    "How you manage your money tends to be reflected in how you manage the rest of your life." - Craig Watts, Fair Isaac

    "Others say Allstate's practice of applying credit risk to some of its auto insurance decisions could violate Proposition 103, the California law that strictly limits what auto insurers can consider before writing a policy."

  • Kiplinger's: The Secret Mix - See what goes into your credit score.

    "Last spring, Fair, Isaac & Co.... went ballistic when another firm started letting consumers in on the secret... The reason: Fair, Isaac was worried that we just would not understand.

    "Since then, however, we've all apparently become a lot smarter. By the end of this year, Fair, Isaac will allow us to see our scores -- for a price."

  • MSN: Why you still don't know the (credit) score
10/8/00 9/26/00
  • FINANCIAL INSTITUTIONS SUBCOMMITTEE HEARING ON CREDIT SCORE DISCLOSURE, SEPTEMBER 21, 2000
  • Senator Charles Schumer:
    • Sponsors S.3063 (introduced 9/18/2000), Consumer Credit Score Disclosure Act of 2000
    • "To this day, most consumers have no idea that simply by having too many credit cards they could ruin their credit score."
    • From hearing testimony:

      I find it not only wrong, but somewhat sinister, that in the mortgage process, lenders have access to all the decision-influencing information and consumers are left in the dark.

      Freddie Mac reported that one-third of all borrowers overspend on their mortgage by upwards of $100 million each year because the loan terms they received were higher than warranted by their credit score.

      So now you know who benefits by keeping the scores secret.

    • Realtors Applaud Schumer Bill on citizen Access to Credit Scores: "If consumers enjoy a good credit report, they also assume they have a good credit score. Not necessarily. The report and the score are two entirely different beasts."
  • Congressman Chris Cannon
    • Sponsors H.R. 2856 (introduced 9/14/1999), the Fair Credit Full Disclosure Act
    • "... if a consumer pays his bills on time every month, will this person's credit score go up? Well, maybe. If a consumer only uses two credit cards instead of five, will the score go up? Well, maybe. If a consumer earns $60k instead of $40k will his score go up? Well, maybe."
    • The Washington Post: "'This bill allows the consumer to have the same information that his or her financial institution receives,' Cannon said recently. 'This common-sense legislation solves a problem which frustrates many consumers.'"
  • Congressman Harold Ford, Jr.
    • Sponsors H.R. 4644 (introduced 6/13/2000), Fair Credit Reporting Act Amendments of 2000
    • "They need to know what the effect of holding too many credit cards has on their ability to get future loans... We, as policy makers, need to empower consumers to make critical and personal financial decisions. But how can we, if we continue to have a system where it is easier for a consumer to get their FBI records than it is to get their full credit report?"
    • NBC News: Pushing credit firms to share data
9/12/00 8/31/00
  • In the California legislature:
    • SENATE PASSES C.A.R.'S CREDIT-SCORING BILL BY VOTE OF 34 TO 1 - Landmark Legislation Now Goes to Governor Gray Davis for Signature
    • Figueroa's Credit Scoring Bill Passes Final Assembly Vote by Wide Margin
  • In the U.S. Congress: Credit Scoring Disclosure Hearing Date Set
8/26/00
  • The Washington Post, June 18, 2000: "Next month, Fair, Isaac, the creator of the FICO scoring system used by numerous lenders, plans to provide consumers with the three-digit grade that plays a giant part in determining who receives loans and how much they pay... 'Our goal is for consumers to come to our Web site and ask for their scores,' [Fair, Isaac consumer affairs manager Craig] Watts said last week."
  • 8/25/00, C.A.R.'S CREDIT-SCORING BILL UP FOR VOTE BEFORE FULL ASSEMBLY
  • 8/8/00, CAR: LAWMAKERS SCORE A VICTORY FOR PROSPECTIVE CALIFORNIA HOMEBUYERS - Opposition forces defeated as credit-scoring bill gains momentum, passing its toughest legislative hurdle to date
  • "Lenders have kept consumers in the dark about credit scoring for too long," said Senator Liz Figueroa. "SB 1607 will put an end to this secrecy. Lenders tell me that credit scoring is used because it helps consumers. If that's true, why are they afraid of shedding a little sunlight on the process?"
7/19/00
  • CAR: Senate Bill 1607 will be heard by the California Assembly Banking and Finance Committee in August.
  • Melissa Preddy, The Detroit News: Credit scoring remains mystery without specifics for consumers - "'That they did disclose more detail is significant,' said Greg Fisher, a self-styled industry watchdog.... 'But if you can't tell me how many credit cards to have, you can't tell me I have too many or too few. In that case the stuff on their Web site is really useless. And how responsible is it to produce the scores if they can't explain how they work?'"
7/12/00
  • [Congressman] Cannon Speaks on His Fair Credit Bill - "'I want to take some of the frustration out of the search for a mortgage or loan, and H.R. 2856 will allow consumer to get a full credit report, including credit scores, from credit agencies,' Cannon said.

    "Legislative hearings in the House Banking Committees, Sub Committee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit are expected in July."

  • NAR: H.R. 2856, the "Fair Credit Full Disclosure Act." - "On Wednesday, June 28, NAR Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Lee Verstandig, participated in a press conference with Rep. Chris Cannon (R-UT) and Chris Larson, CEO of E-Loan, to promote H.R. 2856, the "Fair Credit Full Disclosure Act."
  • A whoppin' zingeroonie. Fannie Mae: "You might have heard that the next version of Fannie Mae's system - due next month - will no longer rely on the FICO credit score to measure the borrower's credit history... as we understand it, the FICO score made no distinction between the type of credit the borrower was paying off. It would give you the same hit on your credit report whether the late payment was your mortgage or your credit card bill."
  • The question is: What scrambling spinmeisters knew what when in this panic-- a manic flurry of news releases?
    • Freddie Mac, June 7: "Freddie Mac is also calling on Fair, Isaac and Co. and the nation's credit reporting industry to take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that borrowers can receive and interpret the FICO credit scores used in the mortgage decision."
    • Fannie Mae, June 8: "... Fannie Mae's system - due next month - will no longer rely on the FICO credit score... "
    • Fair, Isaac, June 8: Fair, Isaac "Demystifies" FICO Scores with List of Score Factors, Web-based Explanation Service
6/28/00
  • MSN MoneyCentral: Unearth the secrets of your credit score - "The long-secret credit scores lenders use to make decisions about loans and credit cards will soon be made available via the Web, along with previously undisclosed information about how they're derived and how they can be improved."
  • Michelle Singletary, The Washington post - Score One For Open Credit Ratings, The Goliath gatekeeper of credit scores, Fair, Isaac and Co., has just yelled uncle. - "'We are not going to tell someone who has five credit cards that they should only be carrying four,' [Craig] Watts said."
  • bankrate.com: FICO next in line to offer access to credit scores - "'We're not a household word. I don't know that we want to be.'"
  • USA Today: Credit scores, criteria to be disclosed - "'We think we're striking a balance between what people think they have a right to know and not giving so much information that the score will be subject to manipulation."' '"We've not said we'll gladly go along with any Tom, Dick or Harry who wants to engage in free-range disclosure.'''

    "... a Consumers Union lawyer who has lobbied for the California legislation, says the Fair Isaac announcement gets the firm 'about halfway' to the accountability she believes consumers deserve."

  • Prepared Testimony of John E. Taylor, President and CEO, National Community Reinvestment Coalition Before the Subcommittee on Capital Markets, Securities, and Government Sponsored Enterprises, U.S. House of Representatives, June 15, 2000 - "The regulatory oversight agency should encourage a wide diversity of credit scoring systems, competing against each other in developing sound and flexible underwriting criteria."
  • Freddie Mac: Selecting an Indicator Score - "Basic. Underwrite the file as required to confirm the Borrower's willingness to repay. 1-unit - over 660."
  • California Senate Bill 1607, HEARING DATE (Assembly, Committee on Banking and Finance): 07/06/2000
06/09/00

Freddie Mac issued a news release on Wednesday, June 7 stating, "Freddie Mac is also calling on Fair, Isaac and Co. and the nation's credit reporting industry to take whatever steps are necessary to ensure that borrowers can receive and interpret the FICO credit scores used in the mortgage decision. Freddie Mac began meeting with Fair, Isaac earlier this year to help it find ways to make its credit scores readily accessible and more understandable to consumers... 'We think that Fair, Isaac and the credit reporting industry have an opportunity and obligation to work together so that FICO scores are as clear and as understandable as possible to the borrowing public.'... "

Following that admonishment, the next day, Fair, Isaac issued a press release of its own which stated, "Fair, Isaac and Company, Inc. (NYSE: FIC) today made public a clear and comprehensive list of the factors used in its FICO® credit bureau risk scores."

Even though those two have been meeting, apparently Freddie Mac had to go public with a drubbing of Fair, Isaac to goad them into acting.

The list is less than clear because it doesn't give the actual names of the factors.

Another spin within the Fair, Isaac release: "Fair, Isaac has publicly supported disclosure of credit bureau scores to consumers by mortgage lenders in the context of a lending decision." Apparently, mortgage bankers are wiser than you.

Since when has Fair, Isaac supported disclosure? And, in public, where? And what good is that when there are forced contracts with the credit bureaus? See creditscoring.com's question #19, Freddie Mac's statement ("Contract agreements between lenders, credit repositories, and Fair, Isaac reportedly may inhibit credit score disclosures to consumers."), and the transcript from the July, 1999 FTC credit scoring forum:

MS. TWOHIG: Kirk, I just want to make sure I understood one thing. Is it the case, though, that you don't give consumers their actual score when you explain to them the reasons why they might be denied?
MR. WILLISON: Again, the agreement that we have with Fair, Isaac, is that we are not to release that score.
MS. TWOHIG: Okay.
MR. WILLISON: Our hands are tied.
MS. TWOHIG: Pete, do you want to say something about that?
MR. MCCORKELL (Fair, Isaac): Thanks. Actually this is a question that you or David, I think, threw at Ray, and Ray kind of threw back at you.

You know, what would be so terrible about giving consumers their scores? And my answer to that is nothing. And I don't have a problem with consumers getting their scores and the reason codes. What I do have a problem with is then getting into the discussion of well, my score is 680 but I need a 685. What can I do to change it? Because while Beth and Marcia made it clear that their aim in their programs is to try to change the credit behavior of their clients so that in fact they are different credit risks, unfortunately there are an awful lot of people when they hear that score and they are some number of points away from a cutoff or from a lower rate, they want to know what can I do to change it. And in fact, I'm sorry to tell you this, but Fair, Isaac's job is not to tell you how to get a better score. Our job is to produce a score that is the best possible predictor of your credit performance.

And so we want to score your behavior. We don't want you altering your behavior to change the score, what I think Beth described as okay, I took the prep course for the SATs, and so I don't know anything more now, but I'm just a better test taker. We don't want to have consumers trying to alter their behavior in short term ways that will --regularly has nothing to do with their long term credit risk. And we don't want to get into that discussion with consumers.

And unfortunately, we have an awful lot of experience, that when a consumer hears a score, especially when they have it in the context of, but you needed five points more or ten points more to qualify for this loan, then they want to have that discussion about well, what can I do this afternoon so that my score tomorrow will be higher.


In its announcement, Freddie Mac also stated that "... it is releasing a list of the factors used by Loan Prospector®, Freddie Mac's state-of-the-art automated underwriting service..." But that was not exactly the big public event it could have been. In March, Fannie Mae trumped Freddie Mac, saying, "So last January, Fannie Mae revealed the 14 decision factors used by our underwriting system, Desktop Underwriter. But we're going to go farther than that. Our next step is to stop relying on the FICO credit score, which is too opaque."

Not that Fannie Mae was the originator of such talk, either: In November, 1999, the U.S. Housing and Urban Development Department said, "In effect, FHA's new automated underwriting system will be like a glass box, exposed to the light of day and public scrutiny.

"In contrast, some automated underwriting systems in use today are known as "black boxes" because outsiders aren't allowed to examine their inner workings."

creditscoring.com has publicly demanded score disclosure since 1998-- and privately since 1997.

06/07/00

  • LANDMARK CONSUMER PROTECTION LEGISLATION WINS OVERWELMING BI-PARTISAN APPROVAL BY THE CALIFORNIA STATE SENATE - Bill to give homebuyers the "Right to Know" their credit score will create the strongest credit-disclosure law in the nation and will demystify the loan approval process for prospective homebuyers in California
  • bankrate.com:Trans Union, Experian to give consumers credit scores, but not the ones lenders use - "'It's just an attempt to draw attention away from the real score,' says Greg Fisher, founder of creditscoring.com and a strident advocate of full disclosure of FICO scores."
  • Realty Times: Consumers Wresting Credit Scores From "Gatekeepers" - "Consumers... apparently are all just too daft to 'get it'."
  • Jane Bryant Quinn, Washington Post: The Darkness About Your Credit Score - "In my many years of covering personal finance, I've learned one thing: Every time there's a push for more consumer disclosure, the powers-that-be argue that the world is going to end.

    That's always baloney... "

    (re: lunchmeat, creditscoring.com, September, 1998: "Baloney. If I have a 750 credit bureau score today, and when I look in six months, I have a 700, I know I'm doing something wrong. It's that simple. These guys just don't like having the light on them.")

  • Terry Savage, Chicago Sun-Times Columnist: Take steps to score good credit - "Finally, don't waste time trying to get your 'score.' It's not like high school or college where you can request your grade. Each credit bureau and each credit grantor may modify the formula slightly, so there is no one 'passing grade.' ... And that's the Savage Truth."
05/19/00
  • Yahoo! Finance - Community: Message Board for Fair Isaac & Co
  • DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME! You need a wise banker:
    • (Even though there are still no answers to the questions from July, 1999) Full text of letter from Fair, Isaac & Co. to a California legislator on credit score disclosure, May 2, 2000 - "Only a lender can provide the additional information needed to explain scores and put them in their proper context within the overall credit decision process... "
    • Los Angeles Times: Credit Scores as Important as Ever but Harder to Get - "The site was frankly far more comprehensive in helping me understand credit scoring than my amiable broker, whose only comment about my previous score was, 'Wow! That's great!'"
  • Trans Union - Something called a "Consumer" credit score
  • California State Senate - Documents associated with SB 1607 in the 1999-2000 Session (Next vote: the entire California Senate, Thursday, May 25th.)
05/12/00
  • CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®: "The Senate Judiciary committee, on Tuesday passed SB 1607, C.A.R.'s sponsored credit scoring disclosure bill with a bi-partisan vote of eight to one."
  • "C.A.R.'s sponsored bill, SB 1607, will be voted on in the Senate Judiciary committee on Tuesday, May 2nd [2000]."
  • REALTY TIMES: Credit Scoring in the Mortgage Industry - "The chart below shows the likelihood of a ninety day delinquency for specific FICO scores."
  • WIRED NEWS: Loan Biz Not Playing Fair, Isaac
  • THE DETROIT NEWS: Avid surfing for loans, best rates on Net may harm credit score
05/09/00 04/25/00
  • Freddie Mac: Selecting an Indicator Score - "... over 660"
  • VOTE. bankrate.com poll: It's my right to know my score. Yes/No.
  • bankrate.com: Discussion on credit scoring issues
04/18/00
  • E-Loan: "The credit score providers will no longer allow us to provide you with your score."
  • Easy Internet credit-score access shut down
04/09/00
  • Statement by Rep. Richard Baker (R-LA) in Reaction to Decrease in Mortgage Rates (4/6/00). "For a second time in as many weeks, a spokesman for Fannie Mae has issued and then subsequently retracted verbal attacks against a high-ranking official of the U.S. Treasury Department... While I am troubled by the semblance of an emerging pattern in the tone of these comments, I am more concerned with the inaccuracy and implications of Fannie's most recent charges against the administration."
  • E-LOAN Screams Foul on Fair Isaac's No-tell Credit Scoring Policy
  • CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®: Consumer's Right to Know - Share Your Credit Scoring Stories
03/24/00
  • California Legislates Credit Score Disclosures
    • Senator Liz Figueroa (D-Fremont), Chair of the Senate Committee on Business and Professions, announced today the introduction of SB 1607, the Consumer's "Right to Know" legislation... This bill is a national landmark. California's consumers will no longer be kept in the dark about key financial information they need when purchasing a home," said Figueroa. "Credit scores go right to the issue on whether a consumer gets the best, worst, or no loan... "

      "Credit scores affect how much consumers pay for a mortgage," noted Gail Hillebrand, staff attorney for Consumer's Union. "Consumers deserve to know how lenders are evaluating their loan applications."

    • "SACRAMENTO (Feb. 22) - The California Association of REALTORS® today announced its sponsorship of Senator Liz Figueroa's Consumer's "Right to Know" legislation, which will provide California homebuyers with their financial credit scores, make it easier to shop for mortgages and better evaluate loan rates."
    • "Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports magazine, is pleased to co-sponsor your SB 1607. This important bill will help consumers to better understand their financial circumstances by entitling consumers to disclosure of their credit scores."
  • Credit Rating: We Should Know the Score (washingtonpost.com) - "Fannie Mae, the nation's largest provider of mortgage money, has announced that it plans to stop using the credit-scoring system developed by Fair, Isaac & Co." (March 19, 2000)
  • Trans Union's Sale of Personal Credit Information Violates Fair Credit Reporting Act, FTC Rules - "... the Commission focused on the second prong and "reviewed record evidence detailing the various factors lenders use in evaluating credit eligibility . . . in particular . . . the factors that are important in calculating credit scores - - a tool that many lenders use in evaluating credit eligibility."
  • Nation's Big Three Consumer Reporting Agencies Agree To Pay $2.5 MillionTo Settle FTC Charges of Violating Fair Credit Reporting Act
03/05/2000
  • E-Loan. Breaking the Silence On Consumer Credit Scores
  • Fannie Mae, early 2000
    • HUD Says Mortgage Policies Hurt Blacks - "'The absence of active involvement by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in these markets limits the opportunities for African American families to get conventional mortgages,' William Apgar, HUD's federal housing commissioner, said in an interview yesterday... Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae's advertisements frequently feature black families, and the companies portray themselves as leaders in minority lending."
    • Fannie Mae has Played Critical Role in Expansion of Minority Homeownership Over Past Decade; Raines Pledges to Lead Market for African American Mortgage Lending - "The Post story intimates that Fannie Mae does not support African American homebuyers. That story is simply wrong, and I am outraged by it."
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