12 Million Americans Are About To Get An Artificial Boost To Their FICO Scores

Monday, March 13, 2017
By Paul Martin

by Tyler Durden
ZeroHedge.com
Mar 13, 2017

Back in August 2014, we reported that in what appeared a suspicious attempt to boost the pool of eligible, credit-worthy mortgage recipients, Fair Isaac, the company behind the crucial FICO score that determines every consumer’s credit rating, “will stop including in its FICO credit-score calculations any record of a consumer failing to pay a bill if the bill has been paid or settled with a collection agency. The San Jose, Calif., company also will give less weight to unpaid medical bills that are with a collection agency.” In doing so, the company would “make it easier for tens of millions of Americans to get loans.” Stated simply, the definition of the all important FICO score, the most important number at the base of every mortgage application, was set for an “adjustment” which would push it higher for millions of Americans.

As the WSJ said at the time, the changes are expected to boost consumer lending, especially among borrowers shut out of the market or charged high interest rates because of their low scores. “It expands banks’ ability to make loans for people who might not have qualified and to offer a lower price [for others],” said Nessa Feddis, senior vice president of consumer protection and payments at the American Bankers Association, a trade group.” Perhaps the thinking went that if you a borrower has defaulted once, they had learned your lesson and will never do it again. Unfortunately, empirical studies have shown that that is not the case.

Now, nearly three years later, in the latest push to artificially boost FICO scores, the WSJ reports that “many tax liens and civil judgments soon will be removed from people’s credit reports, the latest in a series of moves to omit negative information from these financial scorecards. The development could help boost credit scores for millions of consumers, but could pose risks for lenders” as FICO scores remain the only widely accepted method of quantifying any individual American’s credit risk, and determine how much consumers can borrow for a new house or car as well as determine their credit-card spending limit.

The transformation is already in proces as the three major credit-reporting firms, Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, recently decided to remove tax-lien and civil-judgment data starting around July 1, according to the Consumer Data Industry Association, a trade group that represents them. The firms will remove the adverse data if they don’t include a complete list of a person’s name, address, as well as a social security number or date of birth, and since most liens and judgments don’t include all three or four, the effect will be like wiping the slate clean for millons of Americans. This change will apply to new tax lien and civil-judgment data that are added to credit reports as well as existing data on the reports.

Civil judgments include cases in which collection firms take borrowers to court over an unpaid debt. Ankush Tewari, senior director of credit-risk assessment at LexisNexis Risk Solutions, says that nearly all judgments will be removed and about half of tax liens will be removed from credit reports as a result of the changed approach. He says LexisNexis will continue to offer the data directly to lenders.

In addition, if public court records aren’t checked for updates on lien and judgment information at least every 90 days, they will have to be removed from credit reports.

The outcome of this change is clear: it “will make many people who have these types of credit-report blemishes look more creditworthy.”

The Rest…HERE

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