Anyone who wants a mortgage knows that credit score is king. But as many people are starting to realize, credit-scores are more of a guideline than an exact science. It may not be possible to get it exactly right, but if there was a way of scoring consumers more fairly, surely it would be widely implemented?
Think again. The biggest players in the mortgage business, Fannie and Freddie Mac continue to use a scoring model that is considered outdated by even its developer FICO, which calls newer models more “predictive.”
Fannie and Freddie also require all lenders who want to submit loan applications to use this model. When you add to this the estimated 30 million consumers (at least) who don’t make extensive use of the credit system, who may be young and don’t have much information to file and who aren’t scoreable by Fannie and Freddie, it’s easy to see how many consumers could fall through the cracks.
What’s more, in the years since the financial crash lenders are increasingly betting on people with higher credit scores. Lending to borrowers with credit scores above 700 has risen between 2001 and 2015 from 51 percent to 66 percent—while lending to borrowers with lower credit scores of 660 declined to 14 percent from 31 percent.
Fannie and Freddie’s government regulator, the Federal Housing Finance Agency has directed Fannie and Freddie to make changes, but in the meantime, consumers would be advised to go with the most suitable lenders and not to take their credit scores at face value.
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