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11/24/01 Updates

  • Legislation
    • Associated Press:

      "Skeptics include trade associations for mortgage bankers and large credit reporting agencies."

      "'Anything that affects your credit you should have full access to,' said Sen. Wayne Allard (news - bio - voting record), R-Colo., author of the bill. 'It's kind of a mother-and-apple-pie thing. I don't see why anybody would be against it.'"

    • Mortgage Servicing News, October 2001: Bill Would Require Credit Disclosure - "The two senators want to have a hearing on disclosure bill in September."
  • Fair, Isaac US Credit Bureau Risk Score Reason Codes, For NextGen and Classic Risk Scores - Pay attention to how long it will take Fair, Isaac to persuade remove this file (or how long they'll allow it to remain in definace of these words). Please send email when it is gone.

    Fair, Isaac's "comprehensive list"

  • "The first is the company that invented scoring. The second is a site showing how difficult it can be to change your score or get any answers because the system is so flawed & filled with errors (Grab some coffee--its an extensive site.)"
  • Rutgers-Newark, Joseph C. Cornwall Center for Metropolitan Studies, Dennis E. Gale: SUBPRIME AND PREDATORY MORTGAGE REFINANCING: INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY, CREDIT SCORING AND VULNERABLE BORROWERS - "Concerns About Credit Scoring : One source lists no fewer than 182 references to websites addressing various issues related to credit scores ( ."
10/22/01 Updates
  • Nomura Securities, research: "Moreover, because automated underwriting systems and automated appraisal systems are so new, they have yet to prove their mettle through an economic downturn. In truth, the same can be said of FICO scores when used in the mortgage context."
  • Fannie Mae: Media FAQ: "Fannie Mae is modifying the way in which its automated underwriting system, Desktop Underwriter, analyzes credit risk by substituting the use of credit characteristics from credit reports for FICO scores."
  • BAI: Blind Faith - Credit scoring has revolutionized lending, but critics worry institutions are pushing this technology beyond its limits.
  • Mail: "Thanks for looking out for the people."
9/17/01 Updates
  • Life imitates art: in a one sentence statement, May, 2000-- ten months before the release of the Equifax FICO score: "It's just an attempt to draw attention away from the real score." following its debut in March, 2001: "Get Your REAL Score — The One Lenders Use."
  • CreditXpert ("Be Revolutionary"):
    • In the News
    • "CreditXpert Inc.’s new clients also include OceanFirst, a New Jersey-based regional bank serving the mid-Atlantic."
  • Texas A&M: Improving Your Credit Score - "She is single and has a credit score of 628... Diana doesn’t have a very good credit score, and the lender initially turned her down."
  • (great graphics, though): - Credit Agencies - What is a Credit Score?
    "The following are some ways to rack up a good score:
    • Own your own home
    • Live there several years
    • Hold your job for a long time
    • Carry large balances on your credit cards but make timely payments"
    Fair, Isaac:
    "What's not in a credit bureau score?" "Your salary, occupation, title, employer, date employed or employment history." (new link found 11/01)

  • PBS Money Moves: "He took somebody to Small Claims Court and he won the case... So how much did this which was perceived as a negative, lower his score?"
9/08/01 Updates
  • 7 steps to fixing your credit report - "Fisher is a fan of going by the book and then beyond it. He suggests these tactics:... "
  • San Francisco Chronicle:
    • You could be surprised at what's not included in your credit score - Collection agencies don't always report account repayment
    • Credit scores affect loan terms - Check your credit scores -- they can greatly impact loan terms
  • In the UK: New Guide to Credit Scoring Published
9/05/01 Updates
  • The Brookings Institution - A Prudent Approach To Preventing “Predatory” Lending: "The disclosure of credit scores will help level the playing field when borrowers apply for mortgage credit."
  • Senate Bill 1242: Consumer Credit Score Disclosure Act of 2001 [also, see 2000 proposal]
      "It is wrong for mortgage credit scores to be kept secret from consumers,” Allard said. “Consumers have a right to know their score and how they can improve their credit score.”
    • San Jose/Silicon Valley Business Journal: Know thy credit score - "However, a representative for the company most widely associated with credit scoring, Fair, Isaac and Co. Inc., says the new law has 'a loophole a mile wide'... "
    • "Fair, Isaac & Co.'s consumer affairs manager, Craig Watts, said the Schumer-Allard measure is not necessary because in March the credit-scoring firm reversed its policy that defined the scores as proprietary, and began selling consumers their own grades for $12.95."

      Actually, that action by Fair, Isaac and Equifax came only after a congressional hearing.

      The federal Fair Credit Reporting Act regulates use of this dossier. The right to scrutinize one’s own report is guaranteed under this law. When reporting bureaus contract with a mathematical modeler to obtain a "credit score" however, these protections are no longer available. Nevertheless, lenders subsequently use the credit score to determine loan eligibility, interest rates and other loan terms for the would-be purchasers.
    • "The Mortgage Bankers Association has not taken a position on the Schumer-Allard bill, but its chief lobbyist, Howard Glaser, said Congress should 'avoid placing additional costs on borrowers and lenders or making the process of obtaining a home loan more complex.'"
  • Congresswoman Lucille Roybal-Allard: Consumer Credit Report Accuracy and Privacy Act of 2001 [also, see 1999 proposal], To amend the Fair Credit Reporting Act to allow any consumer to receive a free credit report annually from any consumer reporting agency.
  • Regulators define good/bad credit
    • Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, Office of Thrift Supervision: Expanded Guidance for Subprime Lending Programs - "... Relatively high default probability as evidenced by, for example, a credit bureau risk score (FICO) of 660 or below... "
    • Federal Reserve: Subprime Lending: New Definition, New Guidelines - "In addition, many believe that the credit score threshold of 660, which is higher than the threshold of 620 typically used by the industry, will cause more lenders to fall within the scope of the guidance."
    • One-third of the subprime loans have credit scores between 600 and 659, which indicates some problems... "
    • CBA Urges Federal Banking Regulators To Withdraw Guidance on Subprime Lending - "To say we are curious about where they got 660 would be a vast understatement. Our reaction was anywhere from appalled to mystified."
    • Subprime Guidance Will Stay the Same - "The regulators point out that Standard & Poor's rates loans with FICO scores below 660 as subprime and Freddie Mac considers FICO scores below 620 as a strong indication that the borrower's credit reputation is not acceptable."
  • More definitions of the score that you still can't get from 2/3 of the companies selling it
    • "Banking regulators consider you to be a subprime borrower if you have a FICO score of 660 or lower... "
    • "Under mortgage lending guidelines, for example, a score of 650 or above indicates a very good credit history."
    • Fair, Isaac chart showing 650 isn't even average, and the lowest 24 percent have 649 and below.
    • Fair, Isaac states: "For most kinds of credit, 700 or maybe a little bit up in the 700's.
  • Insurance
    • Denver Channel 7 (ABC): Credit Score Could Affect Your Car Insurance - "The state insurance commission is looking into the matter after it received 117 complaints this year about insurance companies using so-called 'insurance credit scores.'"
    • National Association of Independent Insurers: "What's Credit Got To Do With It"
    • Jane Bryant Quinn, The Washington Post - "If you score 620 or higher, you should always apply first at a traditional bank or a mortgage bank that does prime lending."
    • Lenders defy credit-reporting crackdown, hoarding data that could save you money - "It also skews credit scores, which means consumers who deserve better may be refused credit or forced to continue paying high interest rates."
    • Better Business Bureau: "A credit score, however, can be an imperfect way to try to predict whether someone will default on a loan."
    • Give Me Some Credit! How To Get Your Best Credit Score Ever - "This inside report will give you information you cannot find anywhere else... "
8/27/01 Updates
  • Senate Bill 1242: Consumer Credit Score Disclosure Act of 2001
    • National Association of Realtors: "NAR Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Lee L. Verstandig participated in a press conference on Thursday, July 19, to announce NAR support of the introduction of the "Consumer Credit Disclosure Act of 2001.
    • Reuters: US senators want credit scores disclosed, explained - "According to mortgage finance giant Freddie Mac , a third of all borrowers who obtain high-interest rate, "subprime" mortgages have credit scores that would actually qualify them for lower-interest rate, conventional loans but were unaware of it."
    • Washington Post: "Mortgage industry experts estimate that 350,000 to 400,000 applicants are overcharged every year when lenders incorrectly label them higher-risk or "sub-prime" borrowers because of their credit scores."
  • E-LOAN: E-LOAN, Inc., a Full Credit Score Disclosure Pioneer, Calls for National Legislation, New Credit Score Disclosure Law Is a Giant Step Forward for California Consumers, but Consumers Everywhere Else in America Remain in the Dark
  • planetfeedback: Write Fair, Isaac and Company, Incorporated a letter for free!
  • Washington Post: Bad FICO Mark? Rescore Your Credit
    One by one, with Phillips's help, the derogatories turned out to be long-standing errors on her credit files... The result? Within five days, Phillips's FICO scores jumped 200 points -- taking her from a 580 to a 780, and from a high-risk mortgage applicant to an A-plus cream puff.
  • Nolo:
    To get your score, visit, or To keep up on credit scoring developments, visit
7/11/01 Updates
  • FICO/Fake-o?
    • Equifax
      • April, 2001:
        Equifax is counting on offering the "real thing" to give its service a competitive edge. "Anyone can create a score. Equifax thinks it's important to have the [FICO] score used by most lenders," says J. Michael Cummins, corporate vice president and general manager, consumer direct business, at Equifax.
      • November, 1997
        I mean, and I don't know how somebody's going to explain all that to you. And I also don't know why you—you—you… I mean, I-I don't know why you want to know that. But I, you, you know, (laughs) I don't know how that's going to benefit you.
    • Experian
      • "Each credit bureau can also generate its own credit score, such as the Experian Credit Score."
      • The Experian Credit Score is a generic bureau-based score, developed by Experian, widely used by lenders in multiple industries.
      • "FICO/Risk Scores, however, are not part of a consumer's credit profile. On the contrary, it is merely a tool used by a credit grantor at their own discretion to make a credit granting decision."
    • Trans Union
      • The "TransUnion" score: "The TransUnion score is now available."
      • "At the three major credit bureaus, the FICO score is referred to as the Experian / Fair, Isaac score at Experian, the Beacon score at Equifax, and the Emperica score at Trans Union."
      • "There is no reason to go on with this guy. I don't want to respond to him and have an e-mail correspondence, whther he is a Cadilac owner or not. The best response going forward is no response."
    •, May, 2000: "It's just an attempt to draw attention away from the real score."
  • Rate/score
    • Consumer Reports
      • June, 2001: A breakthrough for borrowers - "If consumers don't know about this key driver of interest rates, they can't question the accuracy of their score or negotiate with lenders for the best rates."
      • January, 2001: New assault on your credit rating - "Outrageous? You bet it is--for everyone who borrows money. If you don't know a key driver of your interest rate, you can't know whether you're getting a fair price."
      • July, 1999: "A high score helps your request for credit to be approved-- it can also mean lower rates. Low scores can cause higher rates and denials."
      • October, 1998: "A score too low may mean your loan has a higher rate."
      • November, 1997: "Have you heard of variable, ah, pricing based on credit scoring?"
  • New, on Obtaining your file
  • Dartmouth: Link to at Reference Resources, Consumer Information: "Credit Scoring (information about credit bureaus)"
  • Federal Reserve, Spring, 2001: Mortgage Credit Process Looks at Credit Scoring - "To better understand the impact of credit scoring on mortgage applicants, the Federal Reserve System's Mortgage Credit Partnership Credit Scoring Committee is producing a five-part article series entitled Perspectives on Credit Scoring and Fair Mortgage Lending."
    1. Spring, 2000: Perspectives on Credit Scoring and Fair Lending: A Five-Part Article Series
    2. Winter, 2001: Credit Scoring Model Development and Maintenance
  • Federal Reserve, Spring, 2001: The Big $core!
  • Ohio Association of REALTORS: Credit Scoring . . . Do you know yours?
5/20/01 Updates
  • New, on
    • - the voice of one... the power of many
      • Equifax
      • Trans Union
      • Experian
    • - Reviews of Highest-rated Credit Reports
    • FTC Consumer Complaint Form
    • Better Business Bureau Online Complaint System
      • Trans Union
      • Equifax
      • Experian
  • Wahington Post: Just One Credit Check Is Enough for Fannie - "Credit industry critics of the idea, who concede that they stand to lose a lot of money under Fannie Mae's plan, warn that pulling only one credit file could open Pandora's box."
5/3/01 Updates
  • E-LOAN and CreditXpert (not to be confused with CreditExpert (Experian))
    • CreditXpert Inc. Announces Partnership With E-LOAN, Providing Revolutionary Credit Management Tools To Web's Leading Lender
    • E-LOAN, Inc., Once Again Gives Consumers Credit Scores for Free
    • E-Loan: "To demand access to your Experian and Trans Union FICO scores, call Fair Isaac at (415) 472-2211 or email... You should also contact your congressional representatives and urge them to support national legislation guaranteeing your access to these scores."
  • National Public Radio: Credit Scoring (audio file) - "The other major credit monitoring firms, Trans Union and Experian, have their own systems."
4/17/01 Updates
  • Experian: The After-Ran
    • Son of Fun With Numbers: "The FICO scoring scale is roughly 400 to 900." But, Fair, Isaac (their business partner)(Equifax's partner, too)(and Trans Union's, too) says, "300 to 850."
    • Ask Max (still in denial): "These two scores provide a good opportunity to stress why the risk factors are important and why you shouldn't get caught up in the numbers... I hope this helps take some of the mystery out of risk scores and risk score factors and helps you utilize them to improve your creditworthiness."

      Here's a newsflash, Max: Release the score as did your competition at Equifax, and that part of the "mystery" will be solved. And, here's a big white space for your response:

      You're not serious with this fake score, are you? (The Return of the Son of Fun With Numbers: "Scores range from a low of 340 to a high of 820... ") Was that another British idea?

  • Trans Union: "Return to this site for updates on the availability of your credit score."    !!!
4/16/01 Updates
  • Return of Fun With Numbers
    • 1997: "The highest score in numbers for Beacon is about 850."
    • NEW LINK: "Copyright © 1998, Equifax Inc.,": "Scores range from 350 to 950... "
    • 2000: "FICO scores range from the 300s to the 900s... "
    • 2001: "FICO scores range from 300 to 850."
  • Insurance: 10 Things Your Insurer Won't Tell You - "Twelve states now have laws that limit the use of credit scores in auto insurance."
4/9/01 Updates
  • The Competitor: CreditXpert
    • CreditXpert Inc. celebrates milestone by providing 100,000 personalized, online consumer credit analyses
    • Cracking Open the Secrets of Credit Scoring - "A mania has been created around score disclosure."
    • "Today, many consumers do not know these common facts:... "
  • Michelle Singletary, The Washington Post - "It might be just the smack in the face you need to motivate you to better manage the debts you have and say no to taking on more."
  • Jane Bryant Quinn
    • From June, 2000: Recent Trend-Disclosing Credit Scores

      "One minute they're stonewalling, the next minute they're begging you to listen...

      "Fair, Isaac jumped on the bandwagon. Watts says his company acted because disclosure legislation has been proposed in California and in Congress. But perhaps a bigger reason is the competition. 'We'd better step in to provide an alternative source of information,' he says."

    • Other columns
      • Shopping Around for Mortgage Rates
        "In most of the industry, high-scoring people are granted loans at standard rates. Lower-scoring people--known as "subprime" risks... might pay up to 2 percentage points more...

        "Lenders are developing systems to match your interest rate more closely with your loan's entire risk profile."

      • "300 ('bounce the bum') to 800 ('borrow money from us, please.')"
      • "That's always baloney... "
4/4/01 Updates
  • Scores in insurance: "'The only time I've ever seen it, it was obviously wrong,' said Bob Hunter, an actuary with 40 years of insurance experience that includes a two-year stint as the insurance commissioner of Texas."
  • MSN MoneyCentral: "Improvements needed... One thing you should realize about the new Fair, Isaac-Equifax service: it's clearly a work in progress... There's a problem of detail as well. The "reason codes" in the FICO score report do not really coincide with the categories in the Equifax credit profile."
  • Wired News: "Indeed, thanks to pressure from Larsen and others, consumers will soon be able to take control of their credit ratings and make sure they're not being cheated. And typically, the big, bad companies that stood in their way in the first place can take all the credit for it."
  • - " is an exceptionally-interesting site that offers news and information regarding credit scoring and -- really -- the entire credit process. This is a great resource that can help consumers better understand the credit process." - Peter G. Miller, publisher of Realty Times, original creator and host of America Online's Real Estate Center, and author of six real estate books including The Common Sense Mortgage
  • Investorama: Best of the Web Directory, - "What's the score? Learn how credit card issuers and lenders calculate your credit score, and how you can take on the system. Take justice, and your credit, into your own hands."
  • San Antonio Business Journal: "According to, the score grades more than just delinquency."
  • Oklahoma State FIN 3713 - REAL ESTATE INVESTMENT AND FINANCE reference - "Fannie Mae Site, Ginnie Mae Site, Freddie Mac Site, HUD Site..."
  • BROADCASTERS: author radio interview (see 3/31/2001 Segment 2)(Call or email to arrange your next wacky program)(or your next dull one)
4/2/01 Updates
  • U.S. Department of Justice: "Our enforcement efforts in the area of credit scoring have not yet focused on disparate impact issues, but rather on the misuse of credit scoring systems.
  • From Louisville: "One trend that is causing concern among state insurance regulators is the use of a 'credit score' to rate people seeking insurance... "
  • quiz: "Credit scores were once as secret as nuclear weapons."
  • Massachusetts Senate and House of Representatives in General Court, SB 24 - History
    • "A consumer reporting agency shall, at the request of a consumer, disclose the following information in understandable format: the consumer's most recent credit score, range of scores, an explanation of the credit score and the key factors, not to exceed four, that adversely affected the consumer's credit score... "
    • Petitioner: Senator Frederick E. Berry
    • Petitioner: Senator Therese Murray
  • Colorado General Assembly HB01-1072 - History
    • "Requires a consumer reporting agency or home mortgage lender to disclose to a consumer the consumer's overall credit score, together with the method by which the credit score was derived from the other information in the consumer's file, upon request and free of charge. Defines "credit score".
    • Sponsor: Representative Kelley Daniel (D)
    • Sponsor: Senator Doug Lamborn (R)
  • Connecticut General Assembly
    • HB 5821 - History - "To prohibit automobile insurers from using credit scores as a rating criteria." - Sponsor: Rep. Art Feltman
    • HB 5730 - History - "To grant full disclosure of the credit scoring formula to individuals denied a loan based solely upon their credit score." - Sponsor: Rep. John Stripp
3/30/01 Updates 3/25/01 Updates
  • Three days after the Equifax/Fair, Isaac announcement... U.S. House of Representatives proposed legislation, H.R.1176 (introduced 3/22/2001)
    • "To amend the Fair Credit Reporting Act to protect consumers from the adverse consequences of incomplete and inaccurate consumer credit reports... "
    • "RECOMMENDATIONS- The report under subsection (b) shall include such recommendations as the Board and the Commission determine to be appropriate for legislative or administrative action to ensure that--

      "(1) consumer disputes with consumer reporting agencies over the accuracy or completeness of information in a consumer's file are promptly and fully investigated and any incorrect, incomplete, or unverifiable information is immediately corrected or deleted;... "

  • Christian Science Monitor, 3/19/01: Closing in on a key to the consumer kingdom
    "While Fair Isaac is the grandaddy in this field, having developed its first scores decades ago, upstarts such as and Neuristics LLC are joining the fray. Experian will also introduce scores with, and a confusingly similar already 'tells consumers how creditors look at them.'"

    "'That's great. That's competition,' says [Greg] Fisher, who runs a website,, from Dayton, Ohio, to keep an eye on credit scoring and reporting. Mr. Fisher says he hopes more scoring sites will bring greater accuracy to credit reporting, which has been criticized in the past for sometimes sloppy work."

  • Eloan: "After their long-standing resistance to credit score disclosure, it is odd to see the credit bureaus and Fair, Isaac portraying themselves as pro-consumer now that legislation has forced their hand."
  • Here's the Scoop On FICO's Online Scores
    • "FICO scores, in other words, often determine what you pay for the money you borrow."
    • "Under long-standing contractual agreements among Fair, Isaac and the three big national credit bureaus -- Equifax, Trans Union and Experian -- FICO scores were kept secret from consumers. But mounting consumer pressure -- and legislative moves at the state and federal levels -- forced Fair, Isaac to rethink its policies last year."
    • "A final feature of the service involves a toll-free number for you to speak with Equifax staff who will answer questions about your credit profile and FICO score." question to Equifax: "That disclosure contained no toll-free telephone number at which your personnel are accessible to consumers."
    • Spin control: "'What we are hoping is that this will allow people to proactively manage their credit,' St. John said in an interview. With the personalized guidance available through the ScorePower service, people will know precisely how to raise their scores -- whether through paying off balances on certain credit cards or even expanding their use of credit."

      Fair, Isaac in congressional testimony
      • "However, it's not possible for anyone to answer the question, 'What can I do to raise my score today in order to get approved tomorrow?'"
      • When, and in what record?: "Fair, Isaac is on record supporting the disclosure of credit scores to consumers in the context of a bona fide mortgage lending decision, provided it is the disclosure of the actual score(s) used, the score factor reasons, and the underlying credit report."

      Fair, Isaac, 1999: "Fair, Isaac's job is not to tell you how to get a better score."

      Fair, Isaac, 1997: "... it is our opinion that disclosing a consumer's score is not particularly helpful to that consumer... "

  • Mailbag:
    • "I noticed your link to all the domain names that Fair Issac owns ( and it made me wonder if they ever approached you about buying your site?"
    • "I have found references to your correspondence with Experian but I cannot locate the site in which they are located."
    • "Wow, what a great site. Tons of very valuable information here."
3/21/01 Updates
  •, 3/20/01: Once-secret credit scores now for sale
    • "Generically, the number is called a FICO (rhymes with 'psycho') score."
    • "For years, credit bureaus kept scores secret from consumers because Fair, Isaac didn't want to open the door to competitors, and it didn't want consumers to figure out how to hack higher scores. But when California mandated that credit bureaus disclose scores to Californians, the credit bureaus embraced the concept of selling credit scores to consumers for a fee."
  • Columbus Dispatch, 3/20/01: CONSUMERS GAIN ACCESS TO CREDIT NUMBER
    • "Starting yesterday, Equifax Inc., one of the nation's largest credit bureaus, began allowing customers to purchase their once-secret credit scores on the Internet for $12.95."
    • "It's the piece of the puzzle that lenders have always had and consumers never had,'' said Greg Fisher, a Dayton-based consumer advocate who operates "This is a turning point and a step in the right direction.''
  • Discussions
3/20/01 Updates
  • NBC "Today" and, March 19 story:
    • Money Magazine editor-at-large and "Today" financial contributor yuks it up with Katie (video)
    • Fun with numbers
      • "Only about one to two percent of consumers score in the 800s."
      • Fair, Isaac chart at showing 11% score 800+.
    • More fun with numbers
      • "With the scale ranging from 300 to 850... "
      • Fair, Isaac spokesman saying the scores range into "the 900s."
      • From the old days (1997), Freddie Mac: "Fair, Isaac and Co., based in San Rafael, CA, employs a spectrum of 'FICO' values that range from a high-risk score of around 550 to a low-risk score of around 800 (Exhibit 3)."
    • Windfall-- where you get the privilege of paying the credit bureaus to get your credit report so you can help them with their quality control to make your report accurate: "Last year, on average, 2,000 people bought credit reports from Equifax every day. Now, 4,000 to 5,000 do."
    • "[Equifax is] first in the market, but the other credit bureaus-- TransUnion and Experian-- are expected to follow shortly."
  • L.A. Times, 3/17/01: For a Fee, Consumers Will Be Able to View Credit Scores Online
    • "Starting Monday [3/19/01], consumers can get a glimpse of the three-digit number that often determines whether they can get a car loan, a home mortgage or even a job."
    • "'We took a lot of care not to be super-specific,' said Cheri St. John, Fair, Isaac's general manager for global alliances. 'The formulas and models are very complex, and there really isn't one or two things consumers can do to raise their scores.'"
    • "Fair, Isaac originally fought efforts for more disclosure by arguing that consumers wouldn't be able to understand the significance of their scores without detailed explanations."
3/18/01 Updates
  • Equifax/Fair, Isaac: Score POWER, $12.95, "now testing"
  • MSN MoneyCentral: Credit worries? Make sure you know the score - "But Fair Isaac has limited its partnerships only to Equifax."
3/14/01 Updates
  • "In 2001 NAR also intends to be an active advocate in support of credit score disclosure legislation to complement automated underwriting technology development and to facilitate consumer understanding of the relationship of credit in the mortgage transaction process."
  • At, a message "from Fair, Isaac, the company that invented FICO scores"
  • Mail to, the company that invented the web site about credit scores: "This is part of the Credit Report and should be made available as the laws have stipulated for the Credit Reports."
2/28/01 Updates
  • Mailbag: "Just finished reading your letters and have a similar tale to tell, only with Equifax, not Experian. I, too, am bumfuzzled as to how the scores are calculated, and frustrated."
  • Story in real time in Part Two, Dirty Data: "Mr. Gambill, if you have someone else answer my question to you again, I'll go over your head."
    Trans Union president: "Your call. I have trained executives to handle these matters."
2/21/01 Updates
  • Mailbag: "Liked your messages to Trans Union and their responses. Useless... I'm a mortgage broker in PA. with 25 years in the business and this credit scoring system stinks. Would be happy to help you if I can. Let me know."
  • asks Trans Union: "In the next five days, will you correct your reports so that they list the dates of delinquency?"
2/19/01 Updates
  • Fannie Mae:
    • June, 2000:
      • "... 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."
    • August, 2000: "... we will continue to require the FICO scores for each borrower in order to underwrite the loan in Desktop Underwriter."
  • Registered by Fair, Isaac:
2/16/01 Updates
  • Realty Times: Realty Consumers Empowered By Online "Peoples" Court - "His Web site helped him -- and millions of other consumers -- extend fair credit reporting rights to credit scoring information."
2/12/01 Updates (for a complete history, see Updates)
  • Fair, Isaac home page: The "New guide" (like the old guide) is missing the reasons list.
    Questions on
    Credit Scores?
    See our new guide
  • NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS: "... Fair, Isaac & Co. (FICO), responding to growing consumer pressures, announced that they will team with the credit bureau Equifax to allow consumers to access their credit score... NAR has been working with Congress on legislation to require credit scoring disclosure."
  • Even an expert has trouble with her score. The Tampa Tribune: What's the Score? - "She was told she was just 10 points under the score needed to get the best premium offered, she said, but hasn't been able to find out how the sum was calculated or how to improve the score by 10 points."
  • U.S. News & World Report: Credit-scoring secrets are soon to be revealed - "You lost, scoring only 550. Your dutiful neighbor won, with an 800, headed for that five-bedroom manse in the suburbs. Your sister is right on the cusp, with a 620, her loan application sitting in purgatory awaiting further review."
  • U.S. Banker: After You Beat 'Em, Join 'Em - "Having blocked online lender E-Loan Inc. from telling consumers their own credit scores, Fair, Isaac & Co. has joined with Equifax Inc. to sell consumers the same information."
  • Wired: Credit Scores Get Easier to See - "You think you'd be the first to know if you had bad credit... But Fair, Isaac, the company that controls consumer-credit information, didn't think you could handle it.
  • Canada: A US advocate has set up an entire website devoted to his unsuccessful efforts to obtain information on credit scoring and his particular score at
  • The U.K.: Keeping score on lenders
2/9/01 Updates
  • Mailbag: "I currently have 5 credit cards at 98+% of credit limits. Even a moron would obviously know to get the revolving credit balances down. What percentage of credit balance/credit limit is "okay": 30%, 50%, 75%?"
1/26/01 Updates
  • The Washington Post: Figuring Out FICO Scores: After Years in the Dark, Consumers Shine the Light on Credit Ratings - "Think of it: After years of deprivation and ignorance, you'll now be able to find out with certainty whether you're an elite FICO 800, a slacker in the high 500s, or worse... people with six or seven credit cards may score better than people with one or none."
  • Mortgage Bankers Association - No definition of "credit score"
1/13/01 Updates - The Announcments of the Announcement to Come
  • 1/11/01 Equifax news release
      • "The new online credit score service, available in the first quarter of 2001... " - In other words, you might have to wait another 2 1/2 months, making it a total of 3 years and 10 months:
        • GF, April 23, 1997: "Information on how to obtain one's credit score is suspiciously absent from your site. How do I get mine?"
        • Equifax, May 12, 1997 - "Because of the growing interest in scores, Equifax is looking at ways to help educate consumers more directly about scores along with credit grantors, but there is nothing immediately available yet."
      • Tom Chapman, Equifax Chairman and CEO: "We forged this alliance with Fair, Isaac to enlighten, enable and empower consumers to improve their credit."
        • GF: Well, that's not academics, that's just a question from a consumer that wants to get the highest score. And that's what I'm doing.
        • Equifax: And we're not running a game show. I mean, we're evaluating risk. We're not trying to have people get--achieve the highest score.
    • "Equifax is the first consumer-reporting agency to offer consumers unique insights into the factors evaluated by Fair, Isaac to arrive at FICO credit risk scores." - No, they're not. Nobody is offering anything but spin, so far. But when they do, it may appear on this page.
    • "U.S. lenders use FICO scores to make billions of credit decisions each year, including more than 75 percent of mortgage loan originations."

      Fannie Mae, June 8, 2000:
      • "There are more than a dozen systems in use today, including our Desktop Underwriter, Freddie Mac's Loan Prospector, Chase Manhattan's "Zippy" and Norwest Mortgage's ECS system. More than 75 percent of lenders use this technology to process more 60 percent of all loan applications, or about 100,000 per day."
      • "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."
      • "For example, 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."
  • 1/11/01 Fair, Isaac news release: Fair, Isaac and Equifax Form Strategic Alliance To Provide Consumers Premier Online Credit Score Services

    Who is their strategy against?

1/9/01 Updates
  • To fight boredom, author is now developing Part II: Because of all the industry bungling, Part 1: practically writes itself, now:
    • January, 2001 - "We hope to have something to announce in the near future." - Fair, Isaac on MSN MoneyCentral (You haven't seen tap-dancing like this since Sammy Davis, Jr. And, for a real treat-- it's in audio.)

    • October, 2000 - "Fair, Isaac Consumer Relations 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 for an undisclosed fee." - MSN MoneyCentral
    • September, 2000 - "By the end of this year, Fair, Isaac will allow us to see our scores -- for a price." - Kiplinger's Magazine
    • June, 2000 - "We're excited about our plans to provide consumers later this summer with their FICO score... " - Fair, Isaac
  • Dallas Morning News - Know the score on credit grade - Credit reports often rife with errors
    (and, enough, already with the "pioneers of scoring" line)
Credit Info Center
National Mortgage News
MSN MoneyCentral