New FICO Score Helps Lenders Better Predict Defaults

October 29 2010 (Jeff Alan)
Fico score credit picture
The three major U.S. credit reporting agencies are offering a new FICO score for prescreening, originating, and servicing home loans that better predicts the likelihood of default.

The FICO 8 Mortgage Score from Fair Isaac Corp. uses the same 300-850 scoring range but more effectively flags accounts 90 days or more past due, which corrals more risky borrowers into the lower levels. FICO predicts that the new scoring system will help lenders reduce default rates on consumer loans between 5 and 15 percent.

The new scoring system will take into account the same factors as the old version such as timely payment history, length of credit history, amount of debt, ratio of debt to available credit, type of debt (credit cards good, finance companies not so good), and any excessive amount of recent new credit. There will also be a premium placed on the debt mix; that is a consumer with revolving and installment credit will fare better than one with nothing but (revolving) credit card debt.

The new product was originally announced back in June but was not due to be finalized for a while. A demand by users in the wake of both rising mortgage defaults and consumer credit delinquencies for a better way of analyzing risk has pushed FICO into speeding up the release. It is expected that FICO 08 will begin to roll out by late spring.

The new product also includes additional codes that help lenders understand and explain the ratings to applicants.