NAFCU Tells FTC Credit Scores are Useful
ARLINGTON, Va.-In response to a request for comment by the Federal Trade Commission, NAFCU told the agency that its membership found credit scores highly useful in making credit decisions. The FTC, in conjunction with the Federal Reserve Board, must conduct a study on the effects of credit scores on the availability and affordability of financial products under the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act. "Overwhelmingly, NAFCU members support the use of credit scores as being useful in extending credit to their members," NAFCU President and CEO Fred Becker said in the April 25 letter. "While FCUs may use credit scores in slightly different manners, all respondents agree that credit scores have enabled FCUs to make more credit uniformly available to more individuals." NAFCU surveyed 32 of its members. Some federal credit unions told NAFCU that they use credit scores in pricing loans but not offering credit. Others factor the credit score in the underwriting practice as part of an in-house scoring system derived from more than 100 characteristics. Credit scores have helped federal credit unions to expand their granting of credit to `C,' `D,' and `E' borrowers that they previously would not have; this also enables them to offer better rates to `A' borrowers. NAFCU also found that accuracy of underwriting decisions has improved with credit scores. Credit scores have created efficiencies as well at federal credit unions because it makes underwriting decisions faster and fewer loan officers are needed. "[T]his savings is passed along to the membership either in reduced rates or in increased dividends," Becker wrote "NAFCU also believes that using a credit score as part of the loan underwriting process benefits women and minorities who previously may have been discriminated against because of their status," he concluded. "NAFCU's members state that when credit scoring is used, all borrowers, including women and minorities, are "on a level playing field and are treated equally."