FICO Scoring System Gets Redesign

Fair Isaac Corp., the company that devised the ubiquitous FICO credit scores, announced this week that it plans to roll out a suite of tools designed to predict future default risk.

Fair Isaac says the new products will predict how lenders can offer even more debt to consumers without taking on undue risk.

The update revamps the old credit-scoring formula so that it penalizes consumers with a high debt load more than the earlier version. FICO 08 should increase predictive strength by 5 to 15 percent, according to Fair Isaac’s vice president of scoring, Tom Quinn.

FICO 08 is also expected to do a better job of determining which consumers with past defaults are “more on the road to recovery and should have more of a higher score,” Quinn says.

The new index can look at three consumers with a 700 FICO score and determine which of the three could take on additional debt without defaulting, according to the company.

Source: Star-Tribune, Kara McGuire (01/22/08)

Developer Sues Real Estate Pro Over Blog

Miami developer Tibor Hollo has sued a real estate practitioner for $25 million, after the practitioner blogged that the developer went bankrupt in the 1980s and is facing financial difficulties in the current downturn.

Hollo filed the lawsuit against the firm Esslinger-Wooten-Maxwell and its associate Lucas Lechuga, alleging libel and defamation against him and his Opera Tower condo development after Lechuga’s blog predicted that at least half of the owners in the 635-unit development would default.

That followed a post in November that Hollo had filed for bankruptcy in the 1980s, an allegation that appears to be untrue.

On Monday, Esslinger-Wooten-Maxwell fired Hollo.

Robert Jarvis, a constitutional law and ethics professor at Nova Southeastern University, who isn’t involved in the case, says he doubts Lechuga will be held liable for defaming Hollo.

”Courts understand [blogs] are written in unedited, unvetted fashion,” Jarvis says. “There’s a lot of hyperbole. That’s why it’s so difficult to win defamation lawsuits.”

Source: The Miami Herald, Patrick Danner (01/29/08)