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Author: aFoolishEngineer One star, 50 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 665  
Subject: No more FICO scores from ELOAN Date: 4/13/2000 2:25 PM
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I've been gone for a while, so I'm not sure if this has been discussed on the Credit Card Board yet, but I read all the back messages here and see it hasn't been mentioned here. My apologies if this has already been beat to death.

I just noticed yesterday when I was visiting eloan.com that they are no longer giving out FICO scores. Apparently from the description on the page, Fair Isaac pulled the plug on eloan's defiance, probably by not giving eloan anymore FICO scores for anyone is my guess. Eloan wants to continue the service, in part because of the overwhelming demand for it, but Fair Isaac will not allow it.

That's disappointing. More secrecy in the world of credit reports and credit scores because Fair Isaac wants to make a buck on you. Frankly, I've had enough and have drafted a letter to my congress-folk in Washington.

I know template letters are popular on these boards, so I thought I'd include the letter I'm sending to my congresspeople below. Feel free to copy it and use it yourself if you'd like. Don't know who your representatives in the House and Senate are? Go to http://congress.org and type in your zip code to find out! You even get e-mail addresses!

In any event, here's the letter:



Dear Representative,

I would like to request that you consider introducing legislation to expand the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) to include a provision requiring lenders or other viewers of credit scores (including potential employers, landlords, and others) to provide those scores as well as an explanation of how those scores affected the consumer in the lender's decision.

The days of walking into a bank and speaking with a loan officer, discussing your current and past finances, and walking out with a loan decision based on personal details and credit history alone are rapidly coming to an end. Increasingly these days, everything from home loans to credit card approvals to apartment and vehicle lease agreements is determined by a secret three digit number. This number, the so-called "credit score," is increasingly becoming the most-important, or in some cases, the only factor in a lending decision. What is truly frightening about this number is that lenders are specifically forbidden from informing consumers of their scores. Fair Isaac and Company, the owners of the statistical algorithm used to calculate the most famous of the scores, the FICO score, is one company responsible for this prohibition.

The current system simply does not make sense. Imagine going through school and being told by teachers, "I'm sorry, your performance this year has not been adequate. You will not be able to progress to the next grade level. I'm sorry, but I am unable to tell you any of your grades. I also can not provide any details as to what things you did wrong that caused you to fail, nor can I tell you precisely which things you can improve on to do better next year. All I can tell you is to be a 'good student,' turn your homework in on-time, and you might do better next year, but I can not guarantee anything."

All across the country consumers are being graded by financial institutions every day, but not a single consumer is allowed to know what his score is.

I understand Fair Isaac's position in this debate. Obviously, if too much was known about how the score is calculated, lenders could begin to calculate credit scores themselves, no longer needing Fair Isaac to do it for them for a fee. Also, if consumers knew too much about the formula, they could work to exploit statistical assumptions in the model and artificially improve their scores, thus compromising the reliability of the model. I am not asking, however, that Fair Isaac hand out the play book for the big game; I'm simply asking that consumers be told what the score is once in a while.

Thank you for your consideration of this very serious matter.

Sincerely,

A concerned US Citizen
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