How Will Foreclosure Effect Credit Scores?

The amount of damage to a credit score caused by foreclosure, deed in lieu or a short sale during 2008 and 2009 may be mitigated by the slower economic times, say some credit and legal experts.

FICO may have to adjust its credit scores to lessen the impact of a foreclosure in the last two years, says Todd J. Zywicki, a professor of law at George Mason University.

”It just seems obvious that a foreclosure in 2008 or 2009 doesn’t have as much information value as a foreclosure five years ago,” he says. ”To the extent that foreclosure doesn’t predict future behavior as much as it did in the past, you’d expect that the FICO algorithm would change to adjust for that.”

One of the country’s largest credit unions Golden 1 has already figured out a way to lend to people with a foreclosure on their record by offering a mortgage repair loan specifically for those who have lost a home to foreclosure and who want to buy a new one.

BECU, another large credit union based in Washington State, is about to present a program to fellow lenders, ”How to Lend to the Newly Credit Impaired.”

Source: The New York Times, Ron Lieber (03/14/2009)

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)