credit score, employers, NY Times latest to fall

From: Greg Fisher []
Sent: Wednesday, November 09, 2011 1:10 PM
To: Jeremy Bernerth, assistant professor, Robert H. & Patricia Hines Professorship in Management, Rucks Department of Management, E. J. Ourso College of Business, Louisiana State University; Shannon G. Taylor, assistant proessor, management, Northern Illinois University; Jack Walker, assistant professor, Rawls College of Business, Texas Tech; Daniel S. Whitman, assistant professor, Rucks Department of Management, Louisiana State University
Cc: Ashley Berthelot, Media Releations, Louisiana State University; Michael Kesterton, columnist, The Globe and Mail, Thomson; Globe and Mail corrections, Thomson; John V. Lombardi, president, Louisiana State University; Melba J. T. Vasquez, PhD, president, American Psychological Association
Subject: RE: credit score, employers, LSU, mainstream, NYT latest to fall

The first sentence of the abstract of your research still states, “Many organizations use credit scores as an employment screening tool, but little is known about the legitimacy of such practices.”

The Louisiana State University press release still states, “Most companies attempt to justify the use of credit scores because they think such employees will end up stealing, but our research suggests that might not be the case.”

A New York Times report about your study published yesterday at 11:09 AM was changed at 12:15.  Somebody in Austin commented on it (see comments below the Times report)(but only after you gained publicity from somebody in Austin).  Psych Central published a correction, too.

When are you going to board up the trap door?

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

[previous message]

CANADA | On Employers and credit scores

“For example, I now have people writing to me saying that they have employers who want to check their credit scores before they hire them. What the hell is that about? In the U.S., you can’t get health insurance if your credit score is crappy. What is that about?” – Gail Vaz-Oxlade, host, TV show “Til Debt Do Us Part,” Shaw Media

“TransUnion does not provide a credit score for employment screening purposes.” – TransUnion

CNBC draws USA TODAY into the fray

A story on CNBC’s website stated:

But how possible is it really to achieve an 850, and is it worth the effort? says that only .5 – 1 percent of consumers have achieved this golden number. asked CNBC for the name a person who, or the address of a document that, is the source of that statistic.  Rather than naming its source, CNBC replied that a myFICO representative said that 13 percent have a score over 800.  CNBC changed its story so that it said this:

But how possible is it really to achieve a perfect score, and is it worth the effort? reports that only 13% percent[SIC] of consumers have achieved scores over 800.

USA TODAY republished the CNBC article.

However, in July, USA TODAY published an Associated Press report that said:

On the positive side, the number of consumers who have a top score of 800 or above has increased in recent years. At least in part, this reflects that more individuals have cut spending and paid down debt in response to the recession. Their ranks now stand at 17.9%, which is notably above the historical average of 13%, though down from 18.7% in April 2008 before the market meltdown.

In July, Fair Isaac said that it would replace its distribution chart.  It has not done so.

The enigmatic realm of credit scores at CNBC

Following a question from regarding a CNBC claim that “only .5 – 1 percent of consumers” have achieved an 850 credit score, CNBC amended a January 4th story on its website.  The error and its correction is not documented.

The original statement was, “ says that only .5 – 1 percent of consumers have achieved this golden number.

The corrected statement is, “ reports that only 13% percent[SIC] of consumers have achieved scores over 800.”

However, in July, (after questions from about an Associated Press report) Fair Isaac, the company who owns myFICO, removed the distribution chart that included the 13 percent statistic, and said that it would replace it.  The credit score company, still, has not provided the replacement.

Despite that, in October, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission heard remarks from the National Consumer Law Center regarding a conclusion cobbled together about the credit score national distribution.  The NCLC’s notion that one-quarter of consumers have a credit score under 600 was attributed to Fair Isaac, and the notion that those under 600 comprised only 15 percent before “the Great Recession” was attributed to the Associated Press. 

A FICO spokesman said that the AP used the 15 percent statistic “as a proxy for a pre-recession distribution curve.”

On April 13, introducing a segment titled “Credit Check: Career Killer?,” a CNBC anchor asked, “Does a credit score– especially a high one– indicate a better applicant?”

The consumer reporting agencies all claim that they do not provide credit scores for employment purposes.

Canada – Pointage de crédit junk journalism from ValueClick

In an item on the Globe and Mail website, an Investopedia article contends, “Credit scores range from 300 to 850.”  However, in Canada the “pointages FICO vont de 300 à 900.”

In the U.S., the FICO credit score scale is 300 to 850.

Investopedia (who is actually based in Canada), a division of ValueClick, provides junk journalism articles to Hearst and Forbes, too.  Martin T. Hart is the chairman of ValueClick according to Forbes.  Whether you choose to believe Forbes about that is entirely up to you.