credit score, employers, Wall Street Journal

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: Sunday, May 22, 2011 4:33 PM
To: Emily Glazer, reporter, Wall Street Journal
Subject: credit score, employers, Wall Street Journal

See this message and your response at http://blog.creditscoring.com/?p=2114.  

You wrote, “A credit score also is used when you apply for an apartment lease and even for some jobs.”

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


UPDATE, 2011-06-22

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com] 
Sent: Tuesday, May 24, 2011 12:57 PM
To: Glazer, Emily
Cc: Everett, Teri M. ( NewsCorp )
Subject: RE: credit score, employers, Wall Street Journal

Please reply.


From: Glazer, Emily 
Sent: Tuesday, May 24, 2011 5:52 PM
To: ‘greg@creditscoring.com
Cc: Everett, Teri M. ( NewsCorp )
Subject: RE: credit score, employers, Wall Street Journal

Hi Greg,

Thanks for reading the article and reaching out. I apologize for my delayed reply – I went through my inbox and I never received your original email.

A number of sources, including Alexa von Tobel from personal-finance website LearnVest.com, had mentioned that some employers check your credit score. This is most prevalent with various background searches during job interviews as a low score could put you at a hiring disadvantage.

Cheers,
Emily


From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com] 
Sent: Thursday, June 02, 2011 12:29 AM
To: Glazer, Emily
Subject: RE: credit score, employers, Wall Street Journal, LearnVest

LearnVest.com states, “While employers cannot access credit scores, they are given a history of missed bill payments, debts, and bankruptcies.”

How did you obtain the information you attribute to Ms. von Tobel?


From: Glazer, Emily 
Sent: Thursday, June 02, 2011 10:15 AM
To: ‘greg@creditscoring.com
Subject: RE: credit score, employers, Wall Street Journal, LearnVest

Hi Greg,

The information was obtained through a phone interview. We wrote “and even for some jobs” because it depends on the company.

Thank you,
Emily


From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com] 
Sent: Thursday, June 02, 2011 11:21 AM
To: Alexa von Tobel, CEO & founder, LearnVest
Cc: Emily Glazer, reporter, Wall Street Journal
Subject: FW: credit score, employers, Wall Street Journal, LearnVest

What indicates that employers use credit scores?


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


On Jun 3, 2011, at 11:54 AM, Greg Fisher wrote:

Please reply.


From: Maria Lin
Sent: Monday, June 06, 2011 10:19 AM
To: greg@creditscoring.com
Cc: Alexa von Tobel, CEO & founder, LearnVest; Ann Kaplan, chair of the board, LearnVest; Emily Glazer, reporter, Wall Street Journal
Subject:Re: credit score, employers, Wall Street Journal, LearnVest II

Hello Greg:

According to one source, the Society for Human Resource Management, 43% of their companies ran credit checks on some or all potential hires according to a poll they conducted a few years ago.

Links to a few of their reports are below.

http://www.shrm.org/Research/SurveyFindings/Articles/Pages/Backroundcheckingcomparative.aspx

http://www.shrm.org/Research/SurveyFindings/Articles/Pages/BackgroundCheckingImplications.aspx

Please feel free to reach out to them directly to confirm the answers to your questions.

Best regards,

Maria


Maria Lin
Editor in Chief
Learnvest, Inc.
740 Broadway, Suite 1002
New York, NY 10012
xxx.xxx.xxxx (office)
xxx.xxx.xxxx (cell)
xxx.xxx.xxxx (fax)


From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: Monday, June 06, 2011 12:25 PM
To: Glazer, Emily
Cc: Alexa von Tobel, CEO & founder, LearnVest; Ann Kaplan, chair of the board, LearnVest; Maria Lin, editor in chief, Learnvest, Inc.
Subject:RE: credit score, employers, Wall Street Journal, LearnVest II

SHRM told me that its survey does not address credit scores.

What correction will you make?

From: Hughes, Jennifer 
Sent: Thursday, April 09, 2009 5:04 PM
To: creditscoring.com
Subject: RE: credit score, employers III

Hi Greg,

Neither survey discusses credit scores, only credit checks.

Sorry!

Thanks,
Jenny

Jennifer Hughes
Media Affairs Specialist
Society for Human Resource Management
1800 Duke Street
Alexandria, VA 22314-3499
Phone: xxx-xxx-xxxx

E-mail: xxxx@xxxx.xxx
www.shrm.org

 HR Leadership for the New Economy.  Only at the SHRM Annual Conference & Exposition.
June 28 – July 1, 2009 | New Orleans, La.
Find out more at www.shrm.org/conferences/annual.
—————————————-

From: creditscoring.com [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: Thursday, April 09, 2009 4:45 PM
To: Hughes, Jennifer
Subject: RE: credit score, employers III

Thank you.

What are the survey results regarding credit scores (a single number calculated from a person’s credit history), specifically?

Do any of the survey questions use the term “credit score”?
—————————————-

At 11:31 AM 4/9/2009, Hughes, Jennifer wrote:

Hi Greg,

According to SHRM’s 2006 Weapons in the Workplace Survey, 42% of surveyed employers run credit checks on potential employees as part of routine background checks. In SHRM’s 2004 Reference and Background Checking Survey, 19% of surveyed employers said they always used credit checks as a type of information in a background check, 24% sometimes used credit checks, and 18% rarely used credit checks.

If you have any other questions, let me know.

Thanks,
Jenny

Jennifer Hughes
Media Affairs Specialist
Society for Human Resource Management
1800 Duke Street
Alexandria, VA 22314-3499
Phone: xxx-xxx-xxxx
E-mail: xxxx@xxxx.xxx
www.shrm.org
 
HR Leadership for the New Economy.  Only at the SHRM Annual Conference & Exposition.
June 28 – July 1, 2009 | New Orleans, La.
Find out more at www.shrm.org/conferences/annual.
—————————————-

From: creditscoring.com [ mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: Thursday, April 09, 2009 10:39 AM
To: Malveaux, Julie; Harris, Jeanene; Hughes, Jennifer
Subject: RE: credit score, employers III
 
Do you claim that employers use credit scores?


From: Glazer, Emily
Sent: Monday, June 06, 2011 12:54 PM
To: ‘greg@creditscoring.com’
Subject:RE: credit score, employers, Wall Street Journal, LearnVest II

Thanks for pointing this out, Greg. I’m going to talk with my editor and will get back to you.

Cheers,
Emily


From: Alexa von Tobel
Sent: Friday, June 03, 2011 8:42 PM
To: greg@creditscoring.com
Subject:Re: credit score, employers, Wall Street Journal, LearnVest II

Greg, I am currently traveling out of the country for work, but happy to get back to you as soon as I have better access to email. Hope you are having a great weekend!
-Alexa


From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: Friday, June 10, 2011 12:51 PM
To: Alexa von Tobel, CEO & founder, LearnVest
Cc: Ann Kaplan, chair of the board, LearnVest; Maria Lin, editor in chief, Learnvest, Inc.; Emily Glazer, reporter, Wall Street Journal
Subject:RE: credit score, employers, Wall Street Journal, LearnVest II

When do you return?

Zillow and SF Chronicle believe Fed credit score info

Consumer reporting agencies TransUnion, Equifax and Experian all emphatically state that they do not provide credit scores for employment purposes.

Despite that, again, the Federal Reserve claims that credit scores are, indeed, used in employment.  Zillow and the San Francisco Chronicle believe it.

The first sentence of a Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland commentary states, “Credit scores are used in nearly every part of our lives, from applications for car loans, mortgages, credit cards, and car insurance to even some hiring decisions.”


credit score, employers, Huffington Post III

[previous message]

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: Friday, November 12, 2010 4:39 PM
To: Laura Bassett, reporter, The Huffington Post
Cc: Mario Ruiz, VP, media relations, Huffington Post
Subject: RE: credit score, employers, Huffington Post, identity II

 Please reply.

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

____________________

From: Laura Bassett, reporter, The Huffington Post
Sent: Friday, November 12, 2010 4:43 PM
To: greg@creditscoring.com
Subject: Re: credit score, employers, Huffington Post, identity II

www.amrail.net

____________________

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: Friday, November 12, 2010 8:49 PM
To: American Rail Marketing
Cc: Laura Bassett, reporter, The Huffington Post; Mario Ruiz, VP, media relations, Huffington Post; Chris Davis, Huffington Post
Subject: credit score, employers, Huffington Post

The Huffington Post reports: “After working for the same railroad for 14 years, never missing a house or car payment, Sammy Bailey says he never expected his credit score to keep him out of a job… Bailey said he applied for a new job at Am-Rail in Kansas City, Missouri, three weeks ago but failed to pass the background check because of his poor credit.”

Do you use credit scores in employment screening?


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

____________________

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: Saturday, November 13, 2010 12:06 AM
To: [name withheld], American Rail Marketing; American Rail Marketing (info@amrail.net)
Subject: RE: credit score, employers, Huffington Post

The last message, which was sent to the email address on your homepage, was returned as not able to be delivered.

Please reply.

____________________

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: Saturday, November 20, 2010 10:18 AM
To: American Rail Marketing (info@amrail.net); [name withheld], American Rail Marketing; [name withheld], American Rail Marketing; [name withheld], American Rail Marketing; [name withheld], American Rail Marketing; [name withheld], American Rail Marketing; [name withheld], American Rail Marketing
Cc: Laura Bassett, reporter, The Huffington Post
Subject: RE: credit score, employers, Huffington Post III

The Huffington Post reports: “After working for the same railroad for 14 years, never missing a house or car payment, Sammy Bailey says he never expected his credit score to keep him out of a job… Bailey said he applied for a new job at Am-Rail in Kansas City, Missouri, three weeks ago but failed to pass the background check because of his poor credit.”

Do you use credit scores in employment screening?


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

____________________

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: Sunday, November 28, 2010 8:32 PM
To: Laura Bassett, reporter, The Huffington Post
Cc: American Rail Marketing; [name withheld], American Rail Marketing; [name withheld], American Rail Marketing; [name withheld], American Rail Marketing; [name withheld], American Rail Marketing; [name withheld], American Rail Marketing; [name withheld], American Rail Marketing; Mario Ruiz, VP, media relations, Huffington Post; Chris Davis, Huffington Post
Subject: RE: credit score, employers, Huffington Post III

See “credit score, employers, Huffington Post III.”

Did you ask American Rail Marketing if they use credit scores in employment screening?  If you did, what was their response?


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

credit score, employers, Huffington Post, identity

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: Thursday, November 11, 2010 8:25 AM
To: Laura Bassett, reporter, The Huffington Post
Subject: credit score, employers, Huffington Post, identity

See http://blog.creditscoring.com/?p=1480.

You wrote: “After working for the same railroad for 14 years, never missing a house or car payment, Sammy Bailey says he never expected his credit score to keep him out of a job… Bailey said he applied for a new job at Am-Rail in Kansas City, Missouri, three weeks ago but failed to pass the background check because of his poor credit.”

Seldom do stories about credit score use in employment mention employers’ names.  The consumer reporting agencies all state that they do not provide credit scores for employment screening.

What is the address, telephone number or website address of Am-Rail?

[next message]

Influence: Equifax botches credit score distribution

On the heels of this week’s other fun with Equifax (“INFORM > ENRICH > EMPOWER“), top consumer finance expert” and Equifax blogger Ilyce Glink cross-promotes another of her myriad projects by linking to a video featuring some muckety-muck identified as an Equifax executive.  And it is a hoot.

On CBS MoneyWatch.com, Glink writes:  “According to FICO’s credit blog, about 18 percent of the population has a FICO credit score between 800 to 850, but the highest credit score I’ve heard of is 830 (feel free to post yours below). A little over 25 percent of the population has a credit score below 600.” [an aside: See creditscoring.com's "Two and Two: Credit scores fall, AP, Part II"]

However, there is a kink as her hijinx sinks with a link that slinks into a rinky-dink Think Glink video. ;) The executive, some dude named Steve, identified as “President, Equifax Personal Information Solutions” states, “I think less than one percent of the population has more than 800.”  Turn on the camera and watch him go (away).

It is more than a flub:  The startling misinformation is accompanied by the actual words, on-screen, in writing, in your face:  “Less than 1% have 800 or higher.”

Get more Equi-Facts with Steveorino here on the Wild, Wild Web.  And, don’t miss one of the most hilarious moments in live radio.

Equifax expert misinformation corrected

Equifax corrected its misinformation.

Original:  “A hard inquiry is one in which a bank, a landlord, an employer or a potential employer, a mortgage broker, or another creditor or lender accesses your credit file because of a transaction you have initiated.”

Corrected:  “A hard inquiry is one in which a bank, a landlord, an a mortgage broker, or another creditor or lender accesses your credit file because of a transaction you have initiated.”

Presto Change-O.

NBC TODAY: Employers use credit scores

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

However, last month on NBC, “TODAY” host Matt Lauer introduced a segment with this line:  “This morning on TODAY’S MONEY, five ways to improve your credit score. It impacts all areas of your life from getting loans to how much you pay for insurance, even whether or not you might get a job.”

The interviewee, “TODAY” financial editor Jean Chatzky, does not disagree with Lauer’s statement.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Earlier this year on ABC‘s “Good Morning America,” George Stephanopoulos said that your credit score is the key to getting a good job.  CBS did the dubious deed three years ago.

Employers use credit scores meme in blogosphere

A blogger with a dark fantasy, one of Fortune’s top 25 most influential liberals in U.S. media, and scores of duped blogosphere commenters come together to further the employers-use-credit-scores meme.

Creditscoring.com ventures into the social media audience.  How will it end?

mint.com and Experian – strange bedfellows

See if you can follow this.

The players

The Consumerist, a former property of notorious Gawker Media, is now owned by Consumers Union, publisher of Consumer Reports.  The move is nearly inexplicable, but, apparently, CU thinks that that is how to get young and hip.  But there is a firewall.  A new entity, Consumer Media LLC, houses The Consumerist.  The domain was registered by Consumers Union in December, 2008.  Requests for the home page of http://consumermediallc.org/ are redirected to consumerist.com.

Mint.com is owned by Intuit, the publisher of Quicken personal finance software.  Mint/Quicken is a Believer, saying, viral video-style:

These days, credit scores are not only used by lenders but by everyone from landlords to prospective employers.  A bad score can keep you from getting an apartment, a mobile phone or even a job. – Quicken, March 4, 2010

Now before you get sucked in by that bit about employers, see this video for another perspective.

Other minty-fresh advice includes: 

Make a large purchase using your credit card and pay it off immediately. This impressive payment behavior will earn you good marks. - Mint.com

The only guy likely to be impressed is the one you buy the big-screen TV from .  A history of a large balance is not part of the FICO score scheme.  And the only way to create a credit card history is to let a balance ride long enough to have a record.  Further, as everybody knows by now, high balances compared to limits kill.  But do enjoy your fabulous vacation.

Now, back to the story

Last week, the Consumerist gushed, “Mint.com has an exhaustive article about perfecting your credit to achieve the highest possible ‘elite’ score: anything over 800.”

Exhaustive?  Hardly.  More like exhausting.

According to Mint, the article (“Can You Increase Your Credit Score to 850″) is provided by Experian.com.

Experian.com in that sentence actually links to the disgraced FreeCreditReport.com owned by Experian. The national consumer reporting agency’s Web site was even parodied by its own regulator, the Federal Trade Commission. In the ultimate irony, the FreeCreditReport.com’s home page has to ask the question a consumer might wonder about a site with such a name: “Why isn’t my Credit Report free?” Oft-quoted credit report expert John Ulzheimer calls a recent FTC action the Experian Rule.

Mint.com addresses the concerns of its members:

We link to services provided by two of the largest credit bureaus (FreeCreditReport.com by Experian and TrueCredit by TransUnion) because banks and financial institutions check your credit profile with these bureaus. The services give you access to your credit score, credit report, and credit monitoring alerts.

Fake-O FICO Funk

However, the credit score at Experians’s FreeCreditReport.com is not sold to lenders. That score, the PLUS, is a Fake-O (a term acquired by a member of Congress in a hearing  last month).

Lots of people in social media dig the 850 score Mint article.  In its first paragraph, it mentions a consumer who thinks he is “a financial unicorn,” and explains that only 5.7% of Americans achieve an 800 (according to Credit Karma). The next paragraph refers to the consumer’s FICO score. However, FICO states that roughly one in 8 have a score of 800 or more.  Further, myFICO.com illustrates the 800 club with the figure 13%, not 5.7.

And then, there’s this in the Mint piece:  “Since debt utilization makes up 30 percent of your credit score – the second biggest factor after timely payments – carrying a balance can keep you out of the credit-elite category.”

So, here’s the big question:  If debt utilization is 30%, then what percentage is “Number of accounts with balances“?  And, what percentage is the “Lack of a specific type of balance, in some cases”?

Finally, Mint.com suggests, “In general, the rules to join the credit elite are simple: make timely payments, keep your credit utilization up to about 25 to 35 percent of your available credit, and minimize credit inquiries.”  But, FICO disagrees. Su–ze — Or–man, whose face you can see– right– on– myFICO.com, writes, “The FICO brain trust says there is no specific number that qualifies as a ‘good’ ratio, just that lower is always better.” And, FICO spokesman Barry Paperno said, flat out, “The lower that utilization number is, the better it is for your score.” The scrap heap of comments in that regard just got a little bigger.

Impossible

But, by far, the worst thing about the Mint credit score article is that its “provider,” Experian, can’t even come to an arrangement with FICO to allow consumers to see their FICO score like the other two national consumer reporting agencies.  And the scale of the PLUS score, the score to which the article links through FreeCreditReport.com, ends at 830, not 850 as in the title. In other words, you could do everything right– make all your payments on time, pay down your credit cards, have the optimum number of accounts– and pay the admission to check your score regularly and religiously for years.  But you would never get to 850 because that number doesn’t exist in the PLUS score range.

If the notion behind Consumers Union is buyer beware, reader beware of Consumers Union.  One thing is for sure:  Whenever Experian or Consumers Union is involved, nonsense is sure to follow.