Risk & Compliance Truth Squad: Does VantageScore Use Alternative Data?

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Jan162017

In the era of Big Data, so-called alternative data holds a special promise — to shine a new light on consumer behavior. When it comes to credit scoring, alternative data means data not being used today for risk assessment, and specifically data not found in the credit bureaus. Lenders hope scoring this data could allow them to make faster, better decisions on people who don’t have FICO® Scores — the “unscorables” with sparse or no credit bureau data on file. Hoping to jump on the alt-data bandwagon, the three main US credit reporting agencies – through their VantageScore business – have been claiming that their score uses alternative data to score more consumers than the industry-leading FICO® Score. It sounds good, but is it true? Claim: VantageScore leverages alternative data to score millions more consumers than FICO Scores. Truth: The “alternative” data VantageScore uses is utilities and cell phone bills... [Read More]

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Risk & Compliance Medical Collections Rates Highest for Consumers Aged 24-46

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Jan112017

Since medical costs often increase as we age, one might expect that the rate at which medical bills are unpaid and then sent to collections companies would also increase with age – at least until age 65 when US citizens qualify for Medicare. New FICO research shows that not this not the case. Looking at credit bureau data as of July 2016, medical collections reporting – both paid and unpaid collections greater than $99 – breaks down by age as follows: While the peak of this curve occurs at age 27, the rate of consumers with medical collections is uniformly high for ages 24 to 46. Over a quarter of consumers in that age range have at least one such collection showing on their bureau report. After age 46, we see the rate slowly drop, and as expected, it drops substantially after age 65. Part of the issue stems from... [Read More]

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Risk & Compliance Truth Squad: Will Weaker Scoring Criteria Create a Mortgage Surge?

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Jan102017

Participants and Influencers throughout the mortgage ecosystem have been told by the three main US credit bureaus through their jointly owned and controlled credit scoring firm, VantageScore, that the VantageScore can enable millions more consumers to gain access to a mortgage. It’s an appealing story — but is it true? Claim: Loosening credit scoring criteria will bring lenders an additional 3.4 million potential borrowers, over 2.6 million of whom will qualify for mortgage credit. Truth: Very few new people will both qualify for mortgages and want mortgages. The “innovation” VantageScore claims can score more people is simply the weakening of credit score criteria. The minimum criteria needed to produce the FICO Score aren’t arbitrary — they are the result of decades of research into risk assessment. As a reminder, reliable credit scores can only be calculated from credit files with at least one open credit account for at least six... [Read More]

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Risk & Compliance 2017 Banking Regulatory Predictions—Brace for a Sea Change

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Jan092017

Last fall, I suspect that most regulatory compliance professionals in the U.S. consumer lending market anticipated 2017 would be more of the same. This meant a continued focus on implementation of recently adopted rules, while bracing for a wave of new regulations from the federal banking agencies. Everything changed on November 8. The unexpected election of Donald Trump resulted, in many cases, in a 180-degree course correction. The Trump administration, bolstered by the reelection of a Republican majority in both houses of Congress, has fostered a new environment that is expected to promote de-regulation. While I won’t ever be mistaken for Nostradamus, amidst this regulatory sea change, I feel (relatively) confident in sharing with you my top regulatory compliance predictions for 2017. A little-known law will have big impact on regulation. Haven’t heard of the Congressional Review Act (CRA)? You are not alone. This obscure statutory provision was adopted in... [Read More]

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Risk & Compliance Improving Small Business Lending: Q&A with Ascentium

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Jan052017

Ascentium Capital, an innovative commercial lender, wanted to expand its growing small business portfolio while keeping risk in check. I recently had the chance to speak with Chris Miller, VP of Decision Analytics at Ascentium, on how the company makes quick lending decisions for its small business customers. Please tell me a bit more about Ascentium Capital and what makes you unique? Chris: Ascentium is a commercial lender with a focus on equipment and technology leasing. We’ve grown in five years to have over $1.2 billion in assets and to be the third-largest private-independent finance company. We see ourselves as a small business lender working on making life easier for small business owners. We do that by making access to capital easier using our proprietary finance platform combined with exceptional service. Our basic premise is we can make an application decision in two hours, though it only takes about an... [Read More]

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Analytics & Optimization Top 10 of 2016: Our Blog Posts You Liked Best

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Jan032017

With 2016 recently coming to a close, we took a look back to uncover which topics you – our blog readers – gravitated toward last year. Chief among your interests were analytic innovation, credit risk, regulatory compliance, customer experience and mobile payments. Here’s a recap of our top 10 most popular posts published in 2016: US Credit Quality Rising … The Beat Goes On – Ethan Dornhelm shares FICO research showing how US consumer credit quality continues to climb. Why Is Customer Experience So Hard to Explain? – For an organization to improve customer experience, here’s why everyone needs to start on the same page. 4 Analytic Predictions for 2017 – From Killer Devices to AI Hype – FICO Chief Analytics Officer Scott Zoldi shares his predictions for analytics trends and burning issues in 2017. Your Customer Experience Management Is SO Immature! – Roughly 80% of companies are customer experience... [Read More]

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Analytics & Optimization Video: Analytics Spur the Entrepreneurial Spirit at Georgetown

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Dec282016

Ever wonder how students use analytics to become entrepreneurs? At Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., Students of Georgetown, Inc. – commonly known as “The Corp” – is the largest entirely student-run non-profit corporation in the world, with seven subsidiary companies generating annual revenues in excess of $5 million. As participants in the FICO Academic Engagement Program, Georgetown students were given the opportunity to analyze Big Data from their seven storefronts using some of the industry’s most widely used analytics tools. Watch the video to find out how The Corp leveraged their findings from FICO analytics to monitor customer behavior and improve sales.

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Risk & Compliance Can the Internet Revolutionize the Finance Industry in China?

Andrew Jennings speaking on a PBOC sponsored panel at The Third World Internet Conference in China
Dec232016

This was the question FICO’s Dr. Andrew Jennings was challenged to answer as a guest speaker on a PBOC sponsored panel at The Third World Internet Conference in China. While one would assume the answer is ‘yes’, the world of FinTechs, P2P lending and online financial services have suffered quite a few stops and starts in China. Investment bubbles driven by consumers seeking higher returns, embryonic regulation and a patchwork of lackluster risk management practices persist in a nation undergoing a massive program of urbanization. Jennings spoke about the dual problems of reckless lending and the challenge of improving financial inclusion in China. He proposed that both can be solved with clever, analytically driven credit assessments that use new sources of data. “When we look at the data in China, there is not a single data source that can provide us with a predictable credit score for everyone. So the... [Read More]

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Customer Engagement Analytics in Action: Yarra Valley Water and Application Processing

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Dec222016

As 2016 draws to a close, I am grateful for the many, many ingenious ways customers use FICO® products to solve business problems. Clearly, FICO World 2016 was a bonanza of an opportunity for me to learn exactly how. Customers traveled to our event, held last April in Washington, DC, from all over the world. The folks from Yarra Valley Water, in Melbourne, Australia, made one of the longest journeys, and I enjoyed hearing the retail water utility’s story at FICO World’s closing panel discussion. Yarra Valley Water uses FICO® Blaze Advisor® decision rules management system and FICO® Decision Management Suite to reduce the time required to the water application process from months to minutes, without adding staff. That’s pretty amazing––watch the video below. An early adopter of automation Yarra Valley Water provides water and sewage service to 1.8 million residents and over 50,000 businesses. In 1995, it worked with... [Read More]

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Collections & Recovery FICO Survey: APAC Consumers Taking Longer To Pay Bills

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Dec222016

It’s Christmas time again and apart from the jingling of bells it’s also a time for the juggling of bills. And apparently, that’s getting harder than ever in Asia Pacific. That was the firm message we got from our Asia Pacific collections managers when we polled them about what had been happening with their customer base over 2016. Three in five respondents from banks, telcos, and utilities revealed that their customers have taken longer time to pay their bills in the past year. The 60-days past-due segment has seen the highest growth according to 41 percent of respondents. 72 percent of collections managers also registered an increase in the number of first-time delinquents. This is in keeping with figures out earlier this year from Moody’s that reported household debt in Asia has grown at an average of 13.5 percent a year. Our survey, conducted last month at our FutureCollect event... [Read More]

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