History lesson: Senate Majority Leader

Testing the efficacy of a social media message

WARNING: You won’t find this in The Fountainhead or the copy of the U.S. Constitution that you carry around in your pocket.

Another one of Rupert Murdoch’s silly websites is factually inaccurate again.

Greta Van Susteren (in her headline, no less) blares, “Look who is going to Capitol Hill — on an invitation from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell!!”

!! (!)

Van Susteren has not replied.

As a voting citizen, you were involved in compiling a “Complete List of Majority and Minority Leaders (in fact that is exactly what it is called, and it is on your website).  You see?  He’s on the right (the losing side).

That is all elementary, but here is the big questionWho wrote the headline, “Caught between a job and your credit score“?

Hey kids! One positive outcome of this ridiculousness, is identifying, perhaps, what very-well could be the perfect responsive web design page! Watch what happens when you squish your browser window (which is, apparently, the ultimate test of this fabulous, fundamental new standard)! Try it!

Blended credit score name game

Equifax Experts (aka “I”)
EFX Moderator, EM
Diane Moogalian, vice president of operations, Equifax Personal Solutions
Richard F. Smith, chairman and CEO
Atlanta, Georgia

Equifax Experts, you wrote

I usually get questions about differences in credit scores when a consumer is checking his or her credit report to make a big purchase—like a car—or to apply for a mortgage.

There are different credit score models available to lenders. Some use industry-weighted scores, and others use blended scores from all three CRAs. The lender determines which score model it prefers.

EFX Moderator, EM, you wrote

There are different credit score models available to lenders for things like mortgages and car loans. The lender determines if it prefers an industry-weighted score or a blended score from all three credit reporting agencies.

What is the name of a person or organization who provides “blended scores from all three CRAs”?  What are the names of those scores (in your expert opinion)?

What are your names?

Drop everything and answer those questions today.

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

[SEE https://www.facebook.com/Equifax#!/Equifax/posts/10150977741444015?comment_id=26550986&offset=0&total_comments=1]

State of New York

The Honorable Andrew M. Cuomo
Governor of New York State

You state, “For Sandy Victims, Blemishes on Credit Score Can Mean Higher Costs for Home, Auto, and Business Loans, Greater Difficulty Finding Employment.”

Employers do not use credit scores.  See Item 1.

Make a retraction.

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

[UPDATE 5/6/13: There is a link, dated 4/27, to this page from https://twitter.com/creditscoring/status/328182948165734401.]

New York City

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: Friday, April 26, 2013 11:47 AM
To: Brad Lander, councilmember, Democrat, District 39, city of New York
Subject: credit score, employers, New York City Council, Int 0857-2012

Despite my explanation to you that employers do not use credit scores, your literature is still inaccurate.

Pages on your website state: “Brooklyn City Councilman (D-39) Brad Lander talks about a proposal he’s co-sponsoring to ban the use of credit checks during hiring in New York City. Plus,Emmett[SIC] Pinkston talks about how his credit score disqualified him for a job with the Transportation Security Administration two years ago.”

Further, Mr. Pinkston said no such thing.

Make a clarification now.

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



Earlier this month, credit score company Fair Isaac promoted a social media message by a woman in Greece who claims, inaccurately, that employers use credit scores.

Employers do not use credit scores.

In her story, which is dated 2010, the writer states, inaccurately:

One area which may be controversial for a fico score to be considered is when they are used by potential employers. Some positions are dependent on a good score, and not measuring up could end up costing you the job you want. Again they are used to assess your reliability and can indicate how responsible you are.

In 2010 news agency Reuters furthered the employers-use-credit-scores myth when it interviewed the Fair Isaac CEO and reported, “FICO officially frowns on the fact that employers, landlords, and the like obtain access to individuals’ credit scores and use those scores as a proxy for that person’s general moral upstandingness.”

Prior to that article, regarding its information about credit scores and employment, Fair Isaac responded to creditscoring.com that it used “anecdotal information gleaned from public sources such as published articles.”

Reuters has not made a correction.

Prediction: Dan Gilbert will make a correction.

Dan Gilbert will make a correction.  That is a prediciton that you can believe, sports fans.  Here’s why.

Gilbert is famous.  He’s a mortgage company, NBA basketball and casino squillionaire.  He is also infamous for a certain prediction about his basketball team.  And, unfortunately, his website, Quizzle.com, states, inaccurately, “Employers are Checking Credit Scores – Are You Ready?”

Employers do not use credit scores.  The credit bureaus state that they do not provide scores for employment purposes.

So, there are three things that @cavsdan can do:

  1. Name at least two employers who use credit scores, exposing them, so that the credit bureaus take serious action, and thus solving one of the greatest mass-media mysteries of the past decade: Just who these mystery employers are.  There are none, of course, so he is not going to do that.
  2. Sell his company before the pressure to make the correction is too great to ignore.
  3. Take his lumps and make a correction to the statement.

Follow the message to Dan Gilbert requesting the truth.

CFPB on checking your credit score at least once a year

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: Wednesday, December 12, 2012 11:03 AM
To: Michelle Person, spokesperson, U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Cc: Richard Cordray, director, U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (via press office); Mallory McLean, press assistant, U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau; Moira Vahey, spokesperson, U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
Subject: RE: Who changed the name of our Consumer Financial Protection Bureau?, checking your credit score

One of your “STEPS TO GET AND KEEP A GOOD CREDIT SCORE” is “GET YOUR FREE CREDIT REPORT EVERY YEAR.”  In it, you state, “Tip: You don’t have to buy your credit score. The information you receive from the agencies is adequate.”

However, the document title of another of your public documents is,“Consumer Advisory: Check your credit score at least once a year.”  You can find that title in the properties of the document by opening it and using Ctrl+D, by performing a right click and choosing Document Properties, or by using File then Properties in the menu of a PDF reader.

Even the internet address of the document (http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201207_cfpb_consumer-advisory_check-your-credit-score-every-year.pdf) contains the same message.  But the word score does not even exist in the document content itself.  Despite the file name, document title and internet web address, if you perform a word search for “scor” within the document that is displayed, there are no matches.

On July 16, somebody in your organization wrote, “Read our consumer advisory on checking your credit score at least once a year.”  That message is signed “CFPB Web Team.”  What is the name of the person who is the head of that team?

If your advice is to check our credit scores once a year, then which one should we check?  And, how much does it cost citizens to do so?

And, answer last month’s questions today.  You are falling behind.

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


FICO score Credit utilization, Wall Street Journal, 2012-12-01

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: Sunday, December 02, 2012 11:29 AM
To: Rupert Murdoch, chairman and CEO, News Corporation (via Julie Henderson)
Cc: Karen Blumenthal, columnist, Getting Going, Wall Street Journal, News Corporation; Karen Blumenthal (2)
Subject: credit score, Credit utilization, Wall Street Journal, 2012-12-01

You published:

Apart from what you actually owe, it especially helps to have unused credit available. “Credit utilization“—how much of your credit you actually use—accounts for 30% of the credit-score calculation. While the rule of thumb is to keep your credit use to no more than a third of your available credit, FICO high achievers use, on average, a skimpy 7% of the credit available to them.

However, according to Fair Isaac, 30% is a number referring to the importance of a category in calculating a FICO score called “Amounts Owed,” not “Credit utilization.”  And, Amounts owed is driven by half a dozen factors, not just utilization.  Fair Isaac explains that one of the items in the category is, indeed, “How much of the total credit line is being used and other ‘revolving’ credit accounts,” but it is only one of 6 items in that segment, and, in fact, is listed fifth.

One of the other items (one that you failed to mention) is “The amount owed on different types of accounts.”  That introduces the idea of scoring based on specific types of loans—credit cards and installment accounts, for example.  Another is, merely, “How many accounts have balances,” which has nothing to do with how much credit is actually used.

In 2009, a Fair Isaac spokesman told me: “When my company explains FICO scoring to a general audience, we apply general weights to major data categories such as, ‘Amounts Owed is 30 percent of a typical consumer’s score.’ We don’t break that weighting into finer parts for individual factors, both to avoid unintentionally misleading the public and to protect the model’s proprietary information. “

But if all of that is not overt enough for you, try this.  Using the same words (apparently finally giving in, using the same, popular, over-simplifying street term) you use, Fair Isaac mentions this about the 30% category:  “Credit utilization, one of the factors evaluated in this category, considers the amount you owe compared to how much credit you have available.”

So, now we finally know—in words straight from the horse’s mouth—that “Credit utilization” (despite wacky Wikipedia‘s inaccurate information) does not account for 30 percent of the score calculation; it is only one of the factors in the 30% category (and we have only a vague idea of its weight).  What is not clear about that?  You used quotation marks around the term credit utilization.  Who are you quoting?

And, whose rule of thumb is it to use no more than a third of available credit?  Is there some plateau at 33 percent?  Are there only diminishing returns below that?

The state of the fourth estate is pathetic, so I created a website to deal with your industry’s poor attitude regarding accuracy.  Corrections are published on Page A2.

Finally, what are you doing about my comments that you removed?

Greg Fisher
The Credit Scoring Site
Page A2
PO Box 342
Dayton, Ohio  45409-0342

[UPDATE, 2012-12-03 5:30 PM EST: Continued on Page A2]

TransUnion, what is a credit rating? Zen & coffee w/Audrey

CoffeeCup - HTML and Web Design SoftwareThe home page of TransUnion’s website zendough.com leads to a very mysterious place:  Omaha!

See What is a credit rating? Halloween, 2012 – Credit scares: Various definitions of a loosely used term”

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: Thursday, November 01, 2012 12:39 PM
To: Clifton O’Neal, senior director, Corporate Communications, TransUnion
Subject: credit rating, TransUnion

Ask Audrey
Credit Columnist

Dear Audrey:

What is a credit rating?

I’m on a quixotic journey to find the meaning of that term.  On your Q&A web page titled, “Debt management, credit counseling and credit rating | TransUnion,” you fail to use the term credit rating your answer.  In another instance, using the definite article, you refer to the credit rating, as if it is some specific thing.

So, how do I get my credit rating?  I’d love to see it.

But, before you answer those questions, could you explain why your subdomain http://video.zendough.com leads to a website about coffee?  Are you renting it out to make some extra cash?  Is everything alright?

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

PS:  BTW, who does that rendition of “The Coffee Song”?  That one and Frank Sinatra’s make me want a cuppa right now!

Credit score inquiries, U.S. News & World Report LP error

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: Tuesday, October 09, 2012 12:26 PM
To: Mortimer B. Zuckerman, chairman, Executive Committee, editor-in-chief, U.S. News & World Report (via Liz Putze); Mortimer B. Zuckerman, chairman, Executive Committee, editor-in-chief, U.S. News & World Report (via Liz Putze 2); Mortimer B. Zuckerman, Chairman of the Executive Committee and Editor-in-Chief, U.S. News & World Report
Cc: Sabah Karimi, Wise Bread blogger, freelance digital copywriter, custom content provider, new media marketing specialist
Subject: credit score, inquiries, Wise Bread, Killer Aces Media, U.S. News

You published, “Applying for more credit cards, filling out a loan application, or doing anything that will trigger a hard inquiry on your credit report will drop your credit score by a few points.”

However, Fair Isaac states, “For many people, one additional credit inquiry (voluntary and initiated by an application for credit) may not affect their FICO score at all.”

Who is your source?

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