AJC blogger counters her U.S. Senator

Speech-making, writing, blogging, stating and yakking adds up to much mush

Last week, the U.S. Senate passed its financial reform bill with an amendment regarding credit score use in employment.  Senator Udall from Colorado sold the idea by saying that employers use credit scores.  The problem with that is that the consumer reporting agencies say that they don’t even provide credit scores for employment purposes.

Udall has not replied to a request asking for substantiation.

Two weeks ago, as an Atlanta Journal-Constitution blogger profiled the Equifax consumer reporting agency CEO, the writer dropped the E-Bomb, referring to a “paranoia.”  Sh’yeah!  A self-fulfilling prophecy in the making.

The blogger has not replied to a request for substantiation.

But, redemption for ATL came in the personage of another AJC blogger.  She quotes her senator, then contradicts his statement.  Rana Cash writes:

“I believe it’s only fair to allow consumers access to their credit score when it is used against them to deny credit, require a higher interest rate on a loan or prevent an applicant from being hired for a job,” said Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga) in a statement. Employers often use credit reports, but do not have access to credit scores.

Ouch.  Ouch-O-Mondo-Matic!

The senator was asked by creditscoring.com to reply with substantiation.

Rag-tag army of dissenters

Cash is not alone.  John Ulzheimer, a New York Times blogger and no slouch in credit reporting and scoring said that there is “mountain of evidence that scores are generally not used by employers.”  He talks about the phenomenon on televison.  He had the last word on it– then had the last word on it.

Highly-intelligent and incisive Bankrate writer with exquisite taste in multimedia Leslie McFadden discovered the creditscoring.com video and wrote about the issue in “Credit score myth persists.”

In the Columbia Journalism Review, a reporter had an epiphany and, in a rare moment of leadership in the media, felt a sense of responsibility to his readers that caused him to– gasp– actually make a correction.

They are joined by ChoicePoint, the Privacy Rights ClearingHouse and CNN.

And finally, Lester Rosen, lawyer, author, speaker, expert witness and background screening company president– who knows a little about employment credit reports– keeps hammering away at the “urban myth.”

But, when you’re up against the Federal Reserve, with its access to congressional hearing rooms, it ain’t easy.

The Fed has not replied to a request for substantiation.

credit score, employers, Center for Responsible Lending

From: Greg Fisher 
Sent: Tuesday, March 30, 2010 10:51 AM
To: julia.gordon@responsiblending.org
cc: drshow@wamu.org
Subject: credit score, employers, Center for Responsible Lending

In response to Diane Rehm’s question about credit score use in pre-employment screening, you did not disagree with the premise:  Employers use credit scores.

What evidence suggests that employers use credit scores?

What is the name of an employer who uses credit scores?

(:47:07)

DIANE REHM:  We have heard from various callers and e-mailers that if you walk away from your home– if your credit score is bad-bad-bad– that your next potential employer may look at that score– may look at that record– and that that record could be held against you.  Julia?

JULIA GORDON:  More and more employers are doing credit checks before they hire somebody.  So, ruining your credit score can have all sorts of anticipated and unanticipated consequences, which is why, again, I would really encourage people:  If your credit is good, and you have the opportunity not to become delinquent on a loan, please don’t.

Credit Scores Used by Employers: Believers

See Credit scores used by employers:  Believers and Nonbelievers.

Now, only categorized in the influence > government directory, this topic deserves its own section.  FICO, USA Today, the U.S. Treasury Department, Federal Reserve, EEOC and many others communicate a similar message:  Watch out— credit scores are used in employment screening.  But, when contacted, the various media, government agencies, associations and consumer advocates (they all look the same; on the Internet, nobody knows you’re a bureaucrat) come up short when asked for their sources.

So, what’s the big problem with that?  The credit bureaus say that they don’t sell scores to employers.

Employers, credit score, Wall Street Journal II

See http://www.usnews.com/blogs/alpha-consumer/2009/2/26/why-credit-scores-matter-on-job-applications.html.

Date: Wed, 25 Mar 2009 12:14:49 -0400
To: Mary Pilon, Wall Street Journal
From: “creditscoring.com” <greg@creditscoring.com>
Subject: credit score, employer

See http://blog.creditscoring.com/?p=344.

This appears in a browser’s title bar for this story: “One in Six Employers Look at Your Credit Score – The Wallet – WSJ”

The description of the page that appears (in addition to the title, above) in search engine results is defined by this, found in the page code:

meta name=”description” content=”Many employers are checking job candidates’ credit scores, but how big of a factor are credit scores in a company’s eventual decision to hire?”

Recently, TransUnion claimed that they made an error in their survey: “The word ‘score’ was inadvertently used and the results based on that phrasing were communicated to you… TransUnion does not provide a credit score for employment screening purposes.”

Did you get that message from TransUnion? Will you make a correction?

Employer hiring decisions, credit scores, and the Federal Reserve II

See the previous email to the Federal Reserve.

To: Partners in Economic and Community Dvelopment, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta; Sibyl Slade, regional community development manager, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
Subject: Re: credit score, employers II
Cc: D. Pierce Nelson, public information officer, Public Affairs Department, Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
Date:  2/17/09

Please reply.

At 12:34 PM 2/12/2009, creditscoring.com wrote:

You wrote, “The lack of a solid credit score typically influences the cost of credit, vehicle insurance rates, utility deposits and employer hiring decisions.”

See http://creditscoring.com/influence/government/employercreditscorebelievers.html .

Who is your source regarding credit score use by employers?

What is the name of an employer who uses credit scores?