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Underserved market

By: Kari Michel

Most lenders use a credit scoring model in their decision process for opening new accounts; however, between 35 and 50 million adults in the US may be considered unscoreable with traditional credit scoring models. That is equivalent to 18-to-25 percent of the adult population.

Due to recent market conditions and shrinking qualified candidates, lenders have placed a renewed interest in assessing the risk of this under served population.  Unscoreable consumers could be a pocket of missed opportunity for many lenders. To assess these consumers, lenders must have the ability to better distinguish between consumers with a clear track record of unfavorable credit behaviors versus those that are just beginning to develop their credit history and credit risk models.

Unscoreable consumers can be divided into three populations:
• Infrequent credit users:  Consumers who have not been active on their accounts for the past six months, and who prefer to use non-traditional credit tools for their financial needs.

• New entrants:  Consumers who do not have at least one account with more than six months of activity; including young adults just entering the workforce, recently divorced or widowed individuals with little or no credit history in their name, newly arrived immigrants, or people who avoid the traditional system by choice.

• Thin file consumers:  Consumers who have less than three accounts and rarely utilize traditional credit and likely prefer using alternative credit tools and credit score trends.

A study done by VantageScore® Solutions, LLC shows that a large percentage of the unscoreable population can be scored with VantageScore* and a portion of these are credit-worthy (defined as the population of consumers who have a cumulative likelihood to become 90 days or more delinquent is less than 5 percent).  The following is a high-level summary of the findings for consumers who had at least one trade:
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Lenders can review their credit decisioning process to determine if they have the tools in place to assess the risk of those unscoreable consumers.  As with this population there is an opportunity for portfolio expansion as demonstrated by the VantageScore study.

*VantageScore is a generic credit scoring model introduced to meet the market demands for a highly predictive consumer score. Developed as a joint venture among the three major credit reporting companies (CRCs) – Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.