FHFA Forced to Put Credit Score Decision on Hold

The old credit score models are safe for the time
being, despite a belief that they disregard millions of creditworthy
Americans, leaving them unable to be scored, and thus virtually unable to buy a
home.  The Federal Housing Finance Agency
(FHFA) announced on Monday that it is suspending the initiative to update the
credit score model used by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac (the GSEs).  As recently as this spring FHFA had said that
a decision about scoring models would be made this year.

In a press release the agency said it is shifting its
focus from the update to implementation of Section 310 of the Economic Growth,
Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (Public Law 115-174) enacted in
May.  The Act, which sought to undo many
of the changes made by the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer
Protection Act, contains a provision which critics at the time said would
benefit FICO’s biggest rival VantageScore
It required FHFA to use alternative credit score models.

FHFA and the GSEs have been actively evaluating the
potential impact of a new credit score model or models on access to credit,
safety and soundness, operations in the mortgage finance industry, and
competition in the credit score market for some time as part of an ongoing
Conservatorship Scorecard Initiative.  FHFA said it had done significant
outreach to lenders, mortgage insurers, consumer advocates, and investors.

“After careful evaluation, we have determined that proceeding with
efforts to reach a decision based on our Conservatorship Scorecard Initiative
process and timetable would be duplicative of, and in some respects
inconsistent with, the work we are mandated to do under Section 310 of the
Act,” said FHFA Director Melvin L. Watt.  “In light of that, we
are communicating to Congress that we are transferring our full efforts to
working with the [GSEs] to implement the steps required under Section
310.  These steps include developing a proposed rule, receiving and
evaluating public comment on the proposed rule and issuing a Final Rule to
govern the verification of credit score models.  Thereafter, we will
follow through on the steps required to implement the new Rule.” 

Discussion about needed changes to the existing
scoring model have been ongoing since at least 2011.  FICO, which provides the most widely used
current model, has attempted to integrate less traditional sources of data such
as rent and utility payments in its models, but that information is not widely
reported to the credit bureaus from which FICO obtains its data.

At a panel discussion sponsored by the Urban Institute
last year, Mike
Trapanese, senior vice president at VantageScore Solutions, estimated that
there were about 7.6 million consumers without a credit score who might achieve
a score of 620 or more with new models that included less traditional information.  About 3 million of those might have an income
and credit profile sufficient to purchase a median-priced home in their

Article source: http://www.mortgagenewsdaily.com/07242018_assessing_credit_risk.asp

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