Myth in myths article

With regard to the so-called “utilization ratio,” common sense says More = Bad, and Less = Good, and the scoring model conforms to that intuitive notion.  But, here is another unfortunate case of misinformation; a syndicated error.

Recently, the bankrupt Tribune Company announced a new leader.  Perhaps this is a new beginning for errors and corrections.

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: Sunday, January 20, 2013 11:53 AM
To: Gregory Karp, Tribune Newspapers (2) Cc: Beverly Harzog, credit card expert, author, and consumer advocate; Adam Levin, chairman, cofounder and expert, Credit.com
Subject: Myth in myths article

See this message and your response at http://blog.creditscoring.com/?p=4582.

In “Credit scoring myths — and the facts,” You wrote: “Instead of looking at how much credit you have, scoring systems look at your ‘credit utilization,’ how much of your available credit you’re actually using at any given time. Credit experts are usually reluctant to say exactly what the ideal credit use is, but when pressed, [Credit.com chairman and co-founder Adam] Levin said it’s 10 percent, as ridiculous as that sounds.”

That statement is inaccurate.  According to Fair Isaac, the FICO score company, “Generally speaking, the higher your utilization rate is, the greater is the risk that you will default on a credit account within the next two years… That’s why it’s always good advice to keep your credit card balances low – the lower the better.”

Adam Levin’s own website even states (comprehensively, and with near-perfect symmetry), “The lower your ratio, the higher your score will be,” and “The higher the ratio, the lower your score will likely be.”

Avoid errors in your reporting by referring to “Credit score tips, information and guidelines for journalists/reporters.” See #3.

What is your editor’s name?


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

6/6/15 update: His response.

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