JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and U.S. Bancorp are among the big U.S. banks working on a government initiative to get credit into the hands of people with no or low credit scores, The Wall Street Journal reported on Thursday (May 13), citing sources.
In order to get a clearer picture of how financially responsible people, the banks indicated that they will exchange customer deposit data from checking and savings accounts and extend credit to people who are responsible with their money but have low or no credit scores.
There are about 53 million adults in the country that don’t have regular credit scores, according to Fair Isaac Corp., the company behind FICO credit scores, per the Journal. A report from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau indicated that Black and Hispanic adults are more likely than other groups to lack credit scores.
The plan is to launch a pilot program sometime before the year is out. The banks will determine creditworthiness based on people’s account balances and overdraft history, the sources told the WSJ.
If the pilot program works out, bank underwriting will be revised. Currently, underwriting is based on credit scores, credit reports and payment history. People paying for goods and services with a debit card or cash don’t have a credit report.
A new credit scoring system was developed by FICO that now takes into account how people manage their money overall. No financial institutions went for the idea and few lenders signed on, the sources told WSJ.
Banks and credit card companies are currently dealing with a large number of customers who have paid down balances during the pandemic. Many have also completely paid off credit card balances. The Federal Reserve Bank of New York called the drop in credit card debt “confounding” since people are also shopping and planning trips.
Some credit bureaus started factoring in people’s rent payment history as a way to build out a consumer’s financial history to come up with an alternate score than the one typically relied upon by lenders.
Credit scores are now at a record high despite the worldwide pandemic and historically high unemployment. The average FICO score went up by 7 points in 2020 to a record 710.
May 13, 2021 at 02:07PM