Suze Orman’s social experiment

This train wreck is almost unbearable to watch.

Suze Orman, “internationally acclaimed personal finance expert,” is hustling her thing called the Approved Card.  But she doesn’t seem to know what kind of card it is.

The fabulous expert showed up in fabulous Manhattan to talk to Lucy Danziger, the fabulous editor of SELF, the fabulous magazine from the fabulous Condé Nast.  Danziger, who describes Orman as “the smartest woman about money in perhaps the world” asked, “Is this a credit card?”

Looking annoyed, Orman replied, “No!  It’s a debit card!”

Moments later, holding up the card for effect, she said, “It is possible that in 18 to 24 months from right here, a debit card will be deemed to generate a FICO score.”

As the chatterboxes signed off, Danziger said, “And, good luck with your credit card!”

Wagging her finger, Orman yelled, “Debit card!” and gave the camera a stupid look.

Danziger yelled back, Oprah-style, “Debit card!”

Orman hollered, Oprah-style, “Actually–my prepaid card!”

The yelling stopped as they realized what a mess they were making, and Danziger said, soberly, “Good luck with your prepaid debit card.”

Orman replied, deadpan, “No, just prepaid card.”

Ugh.

The worst thing about the interview, however, beyond the credit/debit/prepaid knuckleheadedness (or the bad audio– it isn’t your computer), is that the smartest woman about money in perhaps the world repeated this, now preposterous, urban legend:

“Employers are starting not to hire you if you don’t have a good credit report and a good credit score.”

The consumer reporting agencies do not provide credit scores for employment purposes.

Excellent journalist that she is, the editor just said, “Interesting,” swallowed it whole, and let the blowhard continue.

Su–ze — Or–man — just — won’t — shut — up — about it.

And, if you give her any guff, she’ll call you an idiot.

Bring it.

————————————————————————–

UPDATE 2/3/12

Here’s the new video, with the part about employers using credit scores (since they are not) edited out:

 

The Matrix: NBC, Reuters, Suze Orman, FICO and American Public Media

They did the dirty deed, spreading the big credit score urban legend.

Hardy har har.  There’s a tongue in cheek campaign to replace Suze Orman with Reuters’ tough Lauren “I demand a lot of answers” Young. But, in reality, it’s a perfect match.  That is, they both believe the same myth: that employers use credit scores.

Oh, those British and their dry wit.

 

credit score, employers, Consumer Reports

Today, Consumer Reports stated, “‘Your score is used by lenders, insurers, and even prospective employers, to judge how great of a credit risk you are,’ says Amanda Walker, Consumer Reports Senior Project Editor.”

Consumer Reports is not telling the truth.  The consumer reporting agencies do not provide credit scores for employment purposes.

Those shenanigans go way back:

Today’s email to Consumer Reports:  

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: Thursday, January 26, 2012 10:19 AM
To: Walter D. Bristol, chairman, Consumer Reports, Consumers Union
Subject: credit score, employers, Consumer Reports

Correct this, fire James A. Guest, then resign.

https://twitter.com/#!/creditscoring/status/162542622710312961


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

 

credit score, employers, Chicago Tribune, 2012-01-13

[for background, see Two and Two: Credit scores fall, AP] 

From: Greg Fisher
Sent: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 8:08 AM
To: Marksjarvis, Gail
Subject: credit scores fall story, 15 to 25.5 percent

You wrote: “According to research released this month by Fair Isaac Corp., which produces FICO credit scores, about 25.5 percent of Americans have credit scores below 599 — a poor score that often interferes with their ability to get a car loan or even other credit cards. That’s far below the long-term average of 15 percent.”

From whom did you learn the 15 percent figure?

 

From: Marksjarvis, Gail
Sent: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 2:04 PM
To: greg@creditscoring.com
Subject: RE: credit scores fall story, 15 to 25.5 percent

Fair Isaac released a study about two weeks ago.

 

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 1:51 PM
To: Marksjarvis, Gail
Subject: RE: credit scores fall story, not from news release

FICO’s news release does not mention the 15 percent figure.

You make the same error as the Associated Press story regarding the 25.5% number. Actually, 25.5% are under 600, not 599.

Did you take your information from AP?

 

From: Marksjarvis, Gail
Sent: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 4:17 PM
To: ‘greg@creditscoring.com’
Subject: RE: credit scores fall story, not from news release

Is 15 percent wrong?

 

From: Greg Fisher
Sent: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 4:43 PM
To: Marksjarvis, Gail
Cc: Michael Lev, associate managing editor, business, Chicago Tribune
Subject: RE: credit scores fall story, unnamed sources

I don’t know; I didn’t do the research for the story.

This is the third request. Do you refuse to name your source? Or, did you just make up the number, yourself?

 

From: Greg Fisher
Sent: Thursday, July 22, 2010 1:13 PM
To: Marksjarvis, Gail
Cc: Michael Lev, associate managing editor, business, Chicago Tribune; Jane Hirt, managing editor, Chicago Tribune
Subject: RE: credit scores fall story, propagation

Your story just appeared on the Fresno Bee’s website.

Who is your source?


From: Greg Fisher
Sent: Friday, January 20, 2012 1:51 PM
To: Gail MarksJarvis, personal finance columnist, Chicago Tribune
Subject: credit score, employers, Chicago Tribune

You wrote, “Because employers and landlords have access to the scores, it can determine who gets an apartment or even a job.”

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

 

credit score, employers, Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education (AFCPE), United State Department of Defense

It is easy to see where Jerome B. Gronfein might have gotten the idea.

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: Wednesday, January 25, 2012 11:56 AM
To: Sharon Cabeen, president, board of directors, Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education
Cc: David S. Rowe, Work & Family Life financial educator, Naval District Washington Fleet and Family Services
Subject: RE: credit score, employers, Association for Financial Counseling and Planning Education (AFCPE), United State Department of Defense

See this message and your response at http://blog.creditscoring.com/?p=3224.

Your website states:  “Our FICO score is used in about everything in our life. From what we pay in interest on loans, car insurance, getting an apartment or even a job and more.”

That statement is inaccurate; the consumer reporting agencies do not provide credit scores for employment purposes.

What are you doing to correct that inaccurate information?

You provided the certification program for American Financial Solutions, “a division of the North Seattle Community College Foundation,” who states the same thing.


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

 

credit score, employers, digitaljournal.com, American Financial Solutions, North Seattle Community College Foundation, Jerome B. Gronfein

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: Wednesday, January 25, 2012 9:47 AM
To: Jerome B. Gronfein, chairman, North Seattle Community College Foundation
Subject: credit score, employers, digitaljournal.com, American Financial Solutions, North Seattle Community College Foundation, Jerome B. Gronfein

See this message and your response at http://blog.creditscoring.com/?p=3221.  

Your press release states:  “Credit scores are an integral part of the financial portfolio for Americans. The score wields power on everything from employment opportunities to auto insurance rates and deposits on cell phones to qualifying for a home.

That statement is inaccurate; the consumer reporting agencies do not provide credit scores for employment purposes.

What are you doing to correct that  inaccurate information?


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

 

Wikipedia Vigil #1 – Easy edit you can make: Employers and credit scores

One day last week, finallyWikipedia misinformed no one.  Today, the goofiness is back.

On the eve of Groundhog Day, here is Vigil #1, a thread to follow the latest atrocity on Wikipedia.  One instance of goofy, wild, preposterous, ridiculously inaccurate and unsupported information has now lasted over 30 days.

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

Despite that–and a growing list of Nonbelievers–one of the most influential sources of information has it wrong (again).  Wikipedia states, “In 2009, [consumer reporting agency] TransUnion representatives testified before the Connecticut legislature about their practice of marketing credit score reports to employers for use in the hiring process.[23]

Footnote #23, indeed, links to a real New York Times piece alright, but that story actually states that a TransUnion representative “testified to Connecticut legislators in February 2009, explaining why TransUnion markets its credit reports [not scores] to employers.”

In fact, in the actual testimony transcript, the CRA official states, candidly, “Now, credit scores aren’t used in employment decisions so let’s get that straight.”

Yes.  Let’s get that straight, not like some storied sources, academics, and other hotshots who have trouble with facts and the truth (even while testifiying before Congress), and members of Congress themselves.  You can make all the references you want to fancy “reliable sources,” but that’s pointless if the source actually says something other than what you say.

But the Times’ reporting doesn’t help in clarifying things, either, stating, “Employers can generally use credit checks — but not credit scores — during the employment process as long as they obtain written permission from the potential employee.”

Such is the inconclusive and confounding power of milqtoast words like “generally,” and use of the mdash.

So, if you are a Wikipedian (rhymes with comedian) looking for another notch on your belt, or you want to start editing with a bang, here is your chance for a slam-dunk.  You’ll even have Jimmy Wales on your side as a Nonbeliever.  But don’t think you’re going to have the last word:  even Jimbo himself didn’t.

But, what do you expect for free– and from somebody who calls himself Cookiehead?


Michael Scott talks about Wikipedia

Freddie Mac eases credit score requirement for refinancing, 2012-01-05

Effective for Freddie Mac settlement dates on or after January 5, 2012, we are… Eliminating the minimum Indicator Score requirement of 620 for Relief Refinance Mortgages – Same Servicer with LTV ratios less than or equal to 80 percent, provided the principal and interest payment does not increase by more than 20 percent.”

Freddie Mac, regarding its “Single-Family Seller/Servicer Guide (Guide) Bulletin 2012-1.”

Expert (again): Employment credit reports don’t contain credit scores

Few are legitimate experts in credit reports in employment screening; Lester Rosen is one of them.

Despite years of his efforts to counteract it, the mass hysteria media just won’t stop spewing the nonsense that employers use credit scores.  Rosen tarries on, though:

In a white paper co-authored by Rosen titled ‘Use of Credit Reports in Employment Background Screening,’ the point is made that credit reports do NOT contain credit scores, and are only obtained at the very end of the hiring process so an employer can be assured they are not hiring a risky employee. Credit scores are not part of an employment credit report since there is no correlation between a credit score and job performance. 

Press releases.  A white paper.  A radio interview. Capital letters.

Nothing works.

 

credit score, employers, LSU, Freakonomics

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: Wednesday, January 04, 2012 12:07 AM
To: Steven D. Levitt, William B. Ogden distinguished service professor of economics, University of Chicago; Stephen J. Dubner, award-winning author, journalist, and radio and TV personality
Cc: Jeremy Bernerth, assistant professor, Robert H. & Patricia Hines Professorship in Management, Rucks Department of Management, E. J. Ourso College of Business, Louisiana State University
Subject: credit score, employers, LSU, Freakonomics

I study the corrections made by powerful people when they discover that they published as the truth the urban legend that employers use credit scores.


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