SAN DIEGO — Ted Stearns, the owner of Tradeline Solutions, a company which facilitates the of the use of "authorized users" to strong credit lines as a means of helping consumers boost their credit scores, defends his company's line of work as benefiting both consumers and credit unions.

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"In the current mortgage market I have the same interests as credit union executives have," Stearns said. "We both want consumers to be able to refinance an existing higher interest mortgage whose payments they aren't able to make into a lower interest mortgage with payments they can make. We both want the consumer to keep the house and to keep that property from foreclosure."

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He said he got the idea of turning the concept into a business from listening to the stories of consumers who were overall hard working and responsible, but who had seen the credit score sharply lowered because a cell provider had reported an overdue $20 phone bill. Not only is this sort of reporting unfair to the consumer, Stearns said, it is inaccurate as well and it leads to people who should qualify for better credit being tarred as poorer credit risks than they would otherwise need to be.

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