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As credit risk increases, how do you find creditworthy consumers?

By: Staci Baker

With the increase in consumer behaviors such as ‘strategic default’, it has become increasingly difficult during the past few years for lenders to determine who the most creditworthy consumers are – defining consumers with the lowest credit risk. If you define risk as ‘the likelihood of [a consumer] becoming 90 days or more past due’, the findings are alarming. From June 2007 to June 2009, Super Prime consumers (those scoring 900 or higher) in the U.S. have gone from an average  VantageScore* of 945 to 918, which increased their risk level  from approx. 0.12% to 0.62% – an increase of 417% for this highly sought after population!  Prime and near prime risk levels increased by 400% and 96% respectively.  Whereas subprime consumers with few choices (stay subprime or improve their score), saw a slight decrease in risk, 8% – increasing their average VantageScore from 578 to 599.

So how do lenders determine who to lend to, when the risk level for all credit tiers increases, or remain risky?  In today’s dynamic economy, lenders need tools that will give them an edge, and allow them to identify consumer trends quickly.  Incorporating analytic tools, like Premier Attributes, into lender’s origination models, will allow them to pinpoint specific consumer behavior, and provide segmentation through predefined attribute sets that are industry specific and target profitable accounts to improve acquisition strategies.

As risk levels change, maintaining profitability becomes more difficult due to shrinking eligible consumer pools.  By adding credit attributes, assessing credit risk both within an organization and for new accounts will be simplified and allow for more targeted prospects, thus maximizing prospecting strategies across the customer lifecycle and helping to increase profitability.

* VantageScore®, LLC, May, 2010, “Finding Creditworthy Consumers in a Changing Economic Climate