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Dispelling credit attribute myths, Part 1

By: Wendy Greenawalt

This blog kicks off a three part series exploring some common myths regarding credit attributes. Since Experian has relationships with thousands of organizations spanning multiple industries, we often get asked the same types of questions from clients of all sizes and industries. One of the questions we hear frequently from our clients is that they already have credit attributes in place, so there is little to no benefit in implementing a new attribute set.

Our response is that while existing credit attributes may continue to be predictive, changes to the type of data available from the credit bureaus can provide benefits when evaluating consumer behavior. To illustrate this point, let’s discuss a common problem that most lenders are facing today– collections. Delinquency and charge-off continue to increase and many organizations are having difficulty trying to determine the appropriate action to take on an account because consumer behavior has drastically changed regarding credit attributes.

New codes and fields are now reported to the credit bureaus and can be effectively used to improve collection-related activities. Specifically, attributes can now be created to help identify consumers who are rebounding from previous account delinquencies. In addition, lenders can evaluate the number and outstanding balances of collection or other types of trades.  This can be achieved while considering the percentage of accounts that are delinquent and the specific type of accounts affected after assessing credit risk. The utilization of this type of data helps an organization to make collection decisions based on very granular account data.  This is done while considering new consumer trends such as strategic defaulters. Understanding all of the consumer variables will enable an organization to decide if the account should be allowed to self-cure.  If so, immediate action should be taken or modification of account terms should be contemplated. Incorporating new data sources and updating attributes on a regular basis allows lenders to react to market trends quickly by proactively managing strategies.