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The Company You Keep

CFA and VantageScore on credit scores and employers

| By Greg Fisher

The Consumer Federation of America (which is not a federation of consumers) is back, again, to tell us how much we don't know, and how terrible, terrible, terrible things are.

Now, for its most recent survey about credit scores, the CFA is in bed with the national consumer reporting agencies; the agencies jointly own VantageScore (hint: hover over link), the CFA's partner in the survey effort.

Employers do not use credit scores and that is because they cannot even get them.

VantageScore Solutions

A long time ago, VantageScore claimed, inaccurately, that employers use credit scores. If fact, President and CEO Barrett Burns and company still do.

Further, blithely copying-and-pasting text from Bloomberg Businessweek, the VantageScore website states, "Besides mortgage, auto, and educational loans, credit scores are also often a determining factor in apartment rentals and in hiring decisions."

On the other hand, from his expert vantage point, an anonymous VantageScore writer informs the masses: "While we’re on the subject, a major misconception is that credit scores are used by employers. Credit scores are NOT used by employers to screen prospective hires, but information taken from a credit file may be used in the hiring process."

Their score tactics are hilarious.

Consumer Federation of America

But, VantageScore is a relatively new (and insignificant) organization, and a bold statement by its current collaborator precedes that nonsense by years. In 2002, the CFA stated, "Credit scores, and the credit reports on which they are based, increasingly influence consumer access to credit, housing, insurance, basic utility services, and even employment."

A 2004 CFA press release states: "'Now that credit scores are increasingly used by utilities, insurers, and employers, as well as creditors, it is essential for consumers to learn their score and what it means,' said CFA Executive Director Stephen Brobeck. 'The cost of not knowing your score and its significance could be not only denial of credit but also difficulty obtaining needed services and even a job,' he added."

The CFA in 2008: "Low scores could not only cost individual consumers thousands of dollars a year in additional finance charges, but can also deny access to credit, insurance, telephone service, a rental unit, and even a job."

But, there is no talking to the esteemed Consumer Federation of America.

Now this is real interactivity!

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: Tuesday, March 01, 2011 5:07 PM
To: Stern, Linda (M Edit Med)
Subject: credit score, employers, Reuters, 2011-02-28

You wrote, "Lenders, landlords, employers and insurance companies all use these automated scoring systems to assess the riskiness of their potential customers, so having a low credit score can cost you an apartment, an insurance policy, a mortgage loan, or several thousands of dollars in higher interest costs."

Who is your source regarding credit score use by employers?

--
Greg Fisher
The Credit Scoring Site
creditscoring.com
PO Box 342
Dayton, Ohio 45409-0342


From: Linda Stern
Sent: Wednesday, March 02, 2011 10:10 AM
To: greg@creditscoring.com
Subject: RE: credit score, employers, Reuters, 2011-02-28

Hi Greg

Long time no talk. I didn't actually realize you were still running your site, and when last we spoke I was at Newsweek.

To answer your question, it was said at the press briefing and it's in the VantageScore press kit.

Best,

Linda

Linda Stern
Senior Personal Finance Correspondent
Thomson Reuters
[phone]
[email]


http://blogs.reuters.com/linda-stern/
Twitter: @LindaStern


From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: Wednesday, March 02, 2011 12:23 PM
To: Wayne Travers, VP, Media Relations, VantageScore Solutions, LLC
Cc: Stern, Linda (M Edit Med)
Subject: FW: credit score, employers, Reuters, 2011-02-28, VantageScore

You wrote: "Credit scores are an increasingly important facet of everyday life. Not only do they play a significant role when a bank or credit issuer considers whether (and at what terms) to approve a consumer application for a mortgage, car loan, or credit card, but they are increasingly being used by non-lenders, such as insurance companies, landlords, and employers, to help them determine whether they want to establish a business relationship with someone."

What evidence indicates that employers use credit scores?

--
Greg Fisher
The Credit Scoring Site
creditscoring.com
PO Box 342
Dayton, Ohio 45409-0342


From: Linda Stern [Thompson Reuters]
Sent: Thursday, March 03, 2011 9:53 AM
To: greg@creditscoring.com
Subject: RE: credit score, employers, Reuters, 2011-02-28, VantageScore

Greg, I got that from Vantage score. Call me at [phone] if you would like to discuss further.

Linda

Linda Stern
Senior Personal Finance Correspondent
Thomson Reuters
[phone]
[email]

http://blogs.reuters.com/linda-stern/
Twitter: @LindaStern

From: Greg Fisher
Sent: Friday, March 04, 2011 5:13 PM
To: Wayne Travers, VP, Media Relations, VantageScore Solutions, LLC
Cc: Lauren Young, personal finance editor, Reuters; Jack Gillis, director of public affairs, Consumer Federation of America; Jeff Richardson, VantageScore Solutions, LLC; Jeff Richardson, Starkman & Associates; Jackie Condie, Starkman & Associates; Steven Katz, senior director, Consumer Brand, TransUnion; Jennifer Costello, public relations director, Equifax; Gery Tschopp, senior vice president, Public Affairs, U.S., Experian
Subject: FW: credit score, employers, Reuters, 2011-02-28, VantageScore II

Please reply.

--
Greg Fisher
The Credit Scoring Site
creditscoring.com
PO Box 342
Dayton, Ohio 45409-0342

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: Monday, March 07, 2011 3:00 PM
To: Wayne Travers
Cc: Jack Gillis, director of public affairs, Consumer Federation of America; Jeff Richardson; Jackie Condie, Starkman & Associates; Jackie Condie, Starkman & Associates; Steven Katz, senior director, Consumer Brand, TransUnion; Jennifer Costello, public relations director, Equifax; Gery Tschopp, senior vice president, Public Affairs, U.S., Experian
Subject: RE: credit score, employers, Reuters, 2011-02-28, VantageScore III

You wrote: "Credit scores are an increasingly important facet of everyday life. Not only do they play a significant role when a bank or credit issuer considers whether (and at what terms) to approve a consumer application for a mortgage, car loan, or credit card, but they are increasingly being used by non-lenders, such as insurance companies, landlords, and employers, to help them determine whether they want to establish a business relationship with someone."

What evidence indicates that employers use credit scores?

Reply now.

--
Greg Fisher
The Credit Scoring Site
creditscoring.com
PO Box 342
Dayton, Ohio 45409-0342


From: Jeff Richardson
Sent: Monday, March 07, 2011 3:45 PM
To: greg@creditscoring.com
Subject: RE: credit score, employers, Reuters, 2011-02-28, VantageScore III

Mr. Fisher,

Thank you for alerting us about this and rest assured last week we informed Ms. Stern that we have updated our information to reflect that employers use credit reports and not credit scores.

Sincerely,

Jeff Richardson
Vice President, Public Relations


From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: Tuesday, May 21, 2013 12:28 PM
To: Barrett Burns, CEO, VantageScore Solutions, LLC (via J. Richardson)
Subject: RE: credit score, employers, Reuters, 2011-02-28, VantageScore IV

Barrett Burns
VantageScore Solutions, LLC

If you told her that, you were not telling the truth. Two years later, your website still states: "Credit scores are an increasingly important facet of everyday life. Not only do they play a significant role when a bank or credit issuer considers whether (and at what terms) to approve a consumer application for a mortgage, car loan, or credit card, but they are increasingly being used by non-lenders, such as insurance companies, landlords, and employers, to help them determine whether they want to establish a business relationship with someone."

Now, it also states, "Not only do they play a significant role when a bank or credit issuer considers whether (and at what terms) to approve a consumer application for a mortgage, car loan or credit card, but they are increasingly used by non-lenders, such as cell phone companies and landlords, to help them determine whether they want to establish business relationships with consumers."

Further your website now states:

Myth: Credit scores are used by employers. Fact: Credit scores are not used by employers, however in some states employers may use information in a prospective employee's credit report. Employers use a special form of credit reports that hide social security numbers, account numbers, and other personal information that is not pertinent or allowable in the employment screening process.

Today, with your publicity campaign for your survey (as you again castigate the American consumer for his ignorance) in full swing, the website of your partner, the Consumer Federation of America, still states (after a decade), "Credit scores, and the credit reports on which they are based, increasingly influence consumer access to credit, housing, insurance, basic utility services, and even employment."

Look in the mirror. It is no wonder citizens are confused.

I am completely baffled, so please help me understand where you went wrong. Have I misinterpreted something? This appears to be a case of incompetence on your part. I want to give you a prominent place on a new list of Believers and Nonbelievers, but I have no idea what your position is. I suppose I could list you on both sides as I have Experian.

I see no reason to deal with your underlings. Frankly, I see no reason to deal with you—since you are not the top person—either. But, I'll entertain your response, nonetheless.

And finally, I'm not assured, and I'm not at rest.

--
Greg Fisher
The Credit Scoring Site
creditscoring.com
PO Box 342
Dayton, Ohio 45409-0342


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