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New FICO Score Redesigned For Improved Accuracy

January 02, 2008

Consumers caught in the subprime mortgage crisis may find some relief with Fair Isaac’s new FICO 08 scoring system. Aside from providing a more accurate risk assessment of consumer credit, the new formula also aims to reward customers for keeping other credit accounts up to date.

“The main thing we tried to do with the score was to make sure it was in tune with current consumer behaviors,” said Fair Isaac’s Craig Watts. “We changed the formula to improve the predictiveness.”

The new formula takes into account consumer credit behaviors in all credit areas rather than focusing on accounts that have gone delinquent. Now, consumers who’ve fallen behind on one account could be rewarded for remaining in good standing with other credit accounts.

“If a person has a repossession or foreclosure on their credit score today, that casts a shadow over everything else. They are scored along with other people with serious delinquencies,” said Watts. “But this new formula looks at not just serious delinquencies, but also at whether consumers have other accounts with positive credit histories. The consumer’s score is not penalized as much for serious delinquencies that are uncommon to his or her credit behavior.”

While Fair Issac’s revamped FICO score will adjust the scoring to forgive unique slips by consumers, it can also more greatly penalize consumers with more than one delinquency. Fair Issac’s new FICO 08 scoring will ultimately provide a more accurate prediction of the likelihood a borrower will default on a loan.

“Our expectation is that lenders will reduce the amounts of defaults on loans by 5 to 15 percent in certain demographic groups. It really helps with consumers who already have serious credit problems, those who are new to credit and those who are seeking credit.”

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