Effectively Scoring Credit Risk in Today’s Economic Environment

Published: April 14, 2020 by Laura Burrows

In the face of severe financial stress, such as that brought about by an economic downturn, lenders seeking to reduce their credit risk exposure often resort to tactics executed at the portfolio level, such as raising credit score cut-offs for new loans or reducing credit limits on existing accounts.

What if lenders could tune their portfolio throughout economic cycles so they don’t have to rely on abrupt measures when faced with current or future economic disruptions? Now they can.

The impact of economic downturns on financial institutions

Historically, economic hardships have directly impacted loan performance due to differences in demand, supply or a combination of both. For example, let’s explore the Great Recession of 2008, which challenged financial institutions with credit losses, declines in the value of investments and reductions in new business revenues.

Over the short term, the financial crisis of 2008 affected the lending market by causing financial institutions to lose money on mortgage defaults and credit to consumers and businesses to dry up. For the much longer term, loan growth at commercial banks decreased substantially and remained negative for almost four years after the financial crisis. Additionally, lending from banks to small businesses decreased by 18 percent between 2008-2011.

And – it was no walk in the park for consumers. Already faced with a rise in unemployment and a decline in stock values, they suddenly found it harder to qualify for an extension of credit, as lenders tightened their standards for both businesses and consumers.

Are you prepared to navigate and successfully respond to the current environment? Those who prove adaptable to harsh economic conditions will be the ones most poised to lead when the economy picks up again.

Introducing the FICO® Resilience Index

The FICO® Resilience Index provides an additional way to evaluate the quality of portfolios at any point in an economic cycle. This allows financial institutions to discover and manage potential latent risk within groups of consumers bearing similar FICO® Scores, without cutting off access to credit for resilient consumers. By incorporating the FICO® Resilience Index into your lending strategies, you can gain deeper insight into consumer sensitivity for more precise credit decisioning.

What are the benefits?

The FICO® Resilience Index is designed to assess consumers with respect to their resilience or sensitivity to an economic downturn and provides insight into which consumers are more likely to default during periods of economic stress. It can be used by lenders as another input in credit decisions and account strategies across the credit lifecycle and can be delivered with a credit file, along with the FICO® Score.

No matter what factors lead to an economic correction, downturns can result in unexpected stressors, affecting consumers’ ability or willingness to repay. The FICO® Resilience Index can easily be added to your current FICO® Score processes to become a key part of your resilience-building strategies.

Learn more

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