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Dispelling credit attribute myths, Part 2

By: Wendy Greenawalt

In the second installment of my three part series, dispelling credit attribute myths, we will discuss why attributes with similar descriptions are not always the same. The U.S. credit reporting bureaus are the most comprehensive in the world. Creating meaningful attributes requires extensive knowledge of the three credit bureaus’ data. Ensuring credit attributes are up-to-date and created by informed data experts.  Leveraging complete bureau data is also essential to obtaining long-term strategic success.

To illustrate why attributes with similar names may not be the same let’s discuss a basic attribute, such as “number of accounts paid satisfactory.” While the definition, may at first seem straight forward, once the analysis begins there are many variables that must be considered before finalizing the definition, including:

  • Should the credit attributes include trades currently satisfactory or ever satisfactory?
  • Do we include paid charge-offs, paid collections, etc.?
  • Are there any date parameters for credit attributes?
  • Are there any trades that should be excluded?
  • Should accounts that have a final status of “paid” be included?

These types of questions and many others must be carefully identified and assessed to ensure the desired behavior is captured when creating credit attributes. Without careful attention to detail, a simple attribute definition could include behavior that was not intended.  This could negatively impact the risk level associated with an organization’s portfolio. Our recommendation is to complete a detailed analysis up-front and always validate the results to ensure the desired outcome is achieved. Incorporating this best practice will guarantee that credit attributes created are capturing the behavior intended.