New York Times News Service story republished by Ohio newspaper

From: Greg Fisher [greg@pagea2.com]
Sent: Thursday, January 03, 2013 2:37 PM
To: John F. Wolfe, publisher, Columbus Dispatch (via B. Marrison); Alan Miller, managing editor, Columbus Dispatch
Cc: Jill Riepenhoff, reporter, Columbus Dispatch, Dispatch Media Group; Stephanie Serino, director, New York Times News Service/Syndicate
Subject: RE: Credit scars, Columbus Dispatch III, New York Times, syndicated error

Yesterday, you published, “The credit score, once a little-known figure derived from a complex formula that incorporates outstanding debts and payment histories, has become an increasingly important number used to bestow credit, determine housing and even distinguish job candidates.”

Employers do not use credit scores.

Make a correction today.


Greg Fisher
Page A2
pagea2.com
PO Box 342
Dayton, Ohio  45409-0342


From: Greg Fisher
Sent: Monday, May 14, 2012 2:33 PM
To: James C. Kennedy, chairman, Cox Enterprises, Inc. (via A. McDill)
Cc: Aime Dunstan, features reporter, Palm Beach Post (2)
Subject: RE: Credit scars, Columbus Dispatch II, Cox

From: Greg Fisher
Sent: Monday, May 14, 2012 1:03 PM
To: John F. Wolfe, publisher, Columbus Dispatch (via B. Marrison)
Cc: Jill Riepenhoff, reporter, Columbus Dispatch, Dispatch Media Group; Aime Dunstan, features reporter, Palm Beach Post; James C. Kennedy, chairman, Cox Enterprises, Inc. (via e. Olmstead)
Subject: RE: Credit scars, Columbus Dispatch II, Cox

The information in your report is mathematically impossible.

If 30 percent of a FICO score is determined by the “Amount owed compared with available credit,” then what percentage is determined by the “Number of accounts with balances”?

You published this quote of a mortgage broker: “‘Now, your life is affected by your credit score: car insurance, cell phones, even as far as employment opportunities.’”

Also, you published: “We all know how important our credit score is. Those with the best scores get better loans, have better jobs and pay lower insurance premiums.”

Subsequently, you published:

Employers also are looking for details of an applicant’s work background. That has become more important because an applicant’s past employers, fearing legal action, rarely release more than job titles and dates of employment.

What’s not a part of the credit check is a credit score, the number that credit-reporting agencies assign to consumers that helps determine how creditworthy they are.

So, as you finally realized, employers do not use credit scores; they cannot even get them.  Ironically, however, you editorialized, “Also, there remains much confusion about the difference between a credit report and a credit score.”

Indeed, even you are confused.

Where do you publish corrections?


From: Greg Fisher
Sent: Thursday, May 10, 2012 5:12 PM
To: Jill Riepenhoff, reporter, Columbus Dispatch
Subject: Credit scars, Columbus Dispatch

A graphic accompanying your story illustrates that 30% of a FICO score is determined by “Amount owed compared with available credit.”

However, Fair Isaac (FICO) itself indicates that only two of 6 items in the category that comprises 30 percent of the importance of its credit score have anything to do with any kind of ratio.

Where do you publish clarifications?


Greg Fisher
Page A2
pagea2.com
PO Box 342
Dayton, Ohio  45409-0342

 

848 credit score disclosure

Here is a message from a reporter for the Cleveland Plain Dealer who claims that the newspaper’s story about a person with an 848 credit score is accurate.  However, based on the message, the story appears to be inaccurate.

Twitter message:  848 credit score disclosure was from Bank of America

What you won't see on Twitter

The article states that a credit score disclosure–with nonsense about a person’s 848 credit score being higher than itself–was provided by a credit bureau.  But, the message above indicates that the disclosure came from a credit card issuer.

 

Wall Street Journal removed comments

[continued from creditscoring.com.  Last email (to Rupert Murdoch):  “… what are you doing about my comments that you removed?”]


From: Blumenthal, Karen
Sent: Monday, December 03, 2012 1:41 PM
To: greg@creditscoring.com; Henderson, Julie ( Newscorp )
Subject: RE: credit score, Credit utilization, Wall Street Journal, 2012-12-01

Greg,

I appreciate the feedback.

I have written several times about credit scores and in some of those stories, i have gone into more detail about the “amounts owed” category. In fact, as I’m sure you know, all of the FICO categories have several factors in them.

In this case, however, the focus was on the traits of high scorers, not the broad components of the credit scores. I have only 800 words a column, sometimes less, and a lot of ground to cover, so I cannot cover every detail every time, as much as I would like to. My goal here was simply to underscore that credit use, or amounts owed, come into play in a more significant way than, say, credit history and that the 7% use number was rather surprising.

To answer your question about the use of available credit, one-third or 30% are common rules of thumb offered by those in the business as a guide for consumers who want to know where the broad cut-off lines are. Changing your credit use is one of the fastest and easiest ways to impact a credit score quickly–especially when compared with credit history or missed payments–and i think it’s important to share that with readers.

Thanks for taking the time to write.

best,

Karen


From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@creditscoring.com]
Sent: Monday, December 03, 2012 2:58 PM
To: Karen Blumenthal, columnist, Getting Going, Wall Street Journal, News Corporation
Subject: RE: credit score, Credit utilization, Wall Street Journal, 2012-12-01 II

It is a math error.

Since it is only part of the 30 percent “Amounts owed” category, then how can “Credit utilization” account for—as you claim—30 percent of the calculation?

The sum of the other items in the category does not equal zero.


Greg Fisher
The Credit Scoring Site
creditscoring.com
PO Box 342
Dayton, Ohio  45409-0342

Edit, December 14, 2012:  Fair Isaac invalidated the link from the words “Credit utilization” above by removing the page that was located at the internet address http://www.scoreinfo.org/FICO-Scores/Score-Ingredients.aspx. The same information about the so-called credit utilization is now at http://www.scoreinfo.org/FICO-Scores/Pages/Score-Ingredients.aspx.

CompareCards.com expert asks to be interviewed again

Previous correspondence with CompareCards.com

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@pagea2.com]
Sent: Wednesday, August 29, 2012 11:58 AM
To: Chris Mettler, founder and CEO, CompareCards.com
Subject: RE: Interview Inquiry, myths

See http://www.pagea2.com/?p=390.

One of your videos, “CREDIT SCORES 101,” states, “Today, credit scores play a part in everything from getting a home, owning a car, to getting a job.”

Born of three years of following that myth, Page A2 is about misinformation, its consequences, and how media deal with correcting and counteracting it.

There is no evidence to support either of your claims.  Over two months ago, you said that you would make a correction to one of them, but you did not.  What happened?

My name is not Gregg.


Greg Fisher
Page A2
pagea2.com
PO Box 342
Dayton, Ohio  45409-0342

From: Chris Mettler
Sent: Tuesday, August 28, 2012 11:33 AM
To: Greg Fisher
Subject: Re: Interview Inquiry, insight

We still doing an interview?

From: Chris Mettler
Sent: Monday, June 11, 2012 5:03 PM
To: Greg Fisher
Cc: Chrissy Bunkley, marketing & communications Specialist, CompareCards.com
Subject: Re: Interview Inquiry, insight

Hey Gregg-

Thanks for your question … I’ll just respond with what I believe I know …

When I made the below statement, I’m making an assumption that credit scorers don’t like to really see balance carry of above 30% in a given month. Obviously, the higher this number, the more chance of a lower credit score. I used 30% as a good threshold to stay under.

So, assuming that about 30% of your overall credit score is based on “Balances or Amount Owed”, I would estimate that 10% of the 30% number is attributed to the number of accounts with balances. Multiple revolving accounts with balances might signal that someone makes purchases beyond their means if they can’t pay this off each month.

Also, my wife grew up in Oakwood and loves Dayton – a throwback spot in this country – go Flyers!

Chris

From: Greg Fisher
Sent: Monday, June 11, 2012 12:25 PM
To: Chris Mettler, founder and CEO, CompareCards.com
Cc: Chrissy Bunkley, marketing & communications Specialist, CompareCards.com
Subject: RE: Interview Inquiry, insight

You wrote: “The overall score is tabulated using several different categories of information that are each weighted depending upon their financial importance to lenders. Some account for 15 percent of your score, for instance, while other categories of your credit performance are worth more than that. Once of the biggies is the amount[SIC] owed, or in other words how much debt you are carrying compared to how much credit you have offered to you. According to Fair Isaac, credit utilization is a key factor in the amount[SIC] owed category – and that category makes up 30 percent of your score.”

If “amount[SIC] owed, or in other words how much debt you are carrying compared to how much credit you have offered to you” “and that category makes up 30 percent of your score,” then what percentage is made up by the Number of accounts with balances?


Greg Fisher
Page A
pagea2.com
PO Box 342
Dayton, Ohio  45409-0342

From: Chrissy Bunkley
Sent: Friday, June 08, 2012 4:04 PM
To: greg@creditscoring.com
Subject: Interview Inquiry

Hi Greg,

I’m reading over the Credit Score blog and notice that you feature a wide variety of topics on all things credit score and finance. I hope you don’t mind that I am using the email address that I found from one of your previous posts in where you personally contacted Rubert Murdoch and called him out for misreports of credit scores and job candidacy.  You’ve got some guts and I like it!

Let me back up, I’m Chrissy from CompareCards.com, an online credit card comparison website.  I’m writing to you because I’d like to offer you the opportunity to interview our founder and CEO, Chris Mettler.  Chris has been educating consumers on credit card trends since 2005.  His wealth of knowledge in financial responsibility is both informative and actionable for consumers and entrepreneurs alike.

Chris has been featured and interviewed in a number of news outlets, which you can find here: http://www.comparecards.com/in-the-news

If you are interested in this idea, I can connect you with Chris directly, who would be happy to share his insight with your readership.

Please let me know if you have any questions or would like to hear more about this opportunity.

Best,
Chrissy

———-

Chrissy Bunkley
Marketing & Communications Specialist
www.comparecards.com

Chicago Tribune’s uncorrected errors

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@pagea2.com]
Sent: Wednesday, June 06, 2012 1:38 PM
To: Sam Zell, Tribune Company; Sam Zell, Tribune Company (alt); Corrections desk, Chicago Tribune
Cc: Jane Hirt, vice president, managing editor, Chicago Tribune; CTC-YourMoney; Margaret Holt, standards editor, Chicago Tribune; Anthony Sprauve, US Consumer / FICO Score Public Relations, Fair Isaac; Craig Watts, Fair Isaac; Northwest Chicago Film Society; Nina Metz, reporter, film, TV and theater, Chicago Tribune; Daniel Bortz, reporter/editor, Personal Finance, U.S. News & World Report; Mortimer B. Zuckerman, chairman, Executive Committee, editor-in-chief, U.S. News & World Report (via Liz Putze); Julie Diop; Ilyce Glink; Luke Knowles, FreeShipping.org; Kate Forgach, blogger, FreeShipping.org; Felix Salmon, blogger, Reuters; Katie Leslie, reporter, Atlanta Journal-Constitution; Marcus K. Garner, reporter, Atlanta Journal-Constitution; Jane Scholz, editor, McClatchy Tribune Information Services ; Gary B. Pruitt, chairman, president and CEO, McClatchy Company (via E. Lintecum); Gerould W. Kern, senior vice-president and editor, Chicago Tribune
Subject: RE: credit score, utilization ratio, Chicago Tribune II, You can’t have it both ways

Not so fast, Mr. Zell.

The numbers you use for credibility are also your downfall.  While you may be satisfied with the column, you did not say that it is accurate.  Who was your source for that part of the column?

Now, here is the big question:  If 30 percent of the FICO score depends on the so-called credit utilization ratio (an inaccurate notion), then what percentage depends on the Number of accounts with balances?

A long time ago, I spent a year dealing with that issue and I am sure that the percentage is a positive number.  According to your logic, however, it is zero.

Same for Amount owing on specific types of accounts.

Same for Lack of a specific type of balance, in some cases.

Same for Amount owing on accounts.

So, your response fails to address a simple math problem.  The ratio accounts for something less than 30 percent of the score, so your statement is incorrect.

The impossibility of your utilization ratio claim notwithstanding, perhaps you could discuss with Fair Isaac (to whom you refer as FICO) your multiple inaccurate articles about employers using credit scores.  The company has no expertise on the matter (since, to my knowledge, it does not sell consumer reports to anybody but consumers), however, it has significant influence over media.  Fair Isaac certainly has Reuters snowed.  Asked to explain its public statement about pre-employment screening, Fair Isaac replied, “The mention you cited from the myFICO video clip was based on anecdotal information gleaned from public sources such as published articles.”

Perhaps they got it from you.  Years after the FICO score company stated that employers use credit scores, that claim—based on a silly rumor—has been debunked.  But it lives on at the Chicago Tribune.

In one place you published, “Because employers and landlords have access to the scores, it can determine who gets an apartment or even a job.”

On the contrary, in another place, you published: “Similar to the reports that a consumer can obtain for free each year through credit-reporting agencies, employers receive a report that lists debt. The reports do not, however, give an applicant’s credit score.”

Yet, in another place, you published, “When you decide to purchase a car or house, or even rent an apartment or apply for a job, your credit score matters.”

Consumer reporting agency Experian states: “Employers never get a credit score. Unfortunately, that is a very common misperception.”

There are other examples.  In one, a columnist made an honorable correction in a subsequent column (dated Independence Day, no less), but it doesn’t seem to have hit da Trib (the date of the correction ironic in light of your abuse of our First Amendment rights).

Who are your sources?

Based on information that you continue to maintain on your website, I might have caught one of the few trains that go through Ohio (and in the middle of the night) to Chicago to see the film “The Halliday Brand” only to find that tonight’s screening had been canceled.

You published your correction on another page.

What is your correction policy?

Consider the citizens.


Greg Fisher
Page A2
pagea2.com
PO Box 342
Dayton, Ohio  45409-0342

 

 

From: CTC-YourMoney [mailto:YourMoney@tribune.com]
Sent: Monday, June 04, 2012 5:04 PM
To: Greg Fisher
Subject: RE: credit score, utilization ratio, Chicago Tribune II

Dear Mr. Fisher:

After discussing your concerns with FICO, we’re satisfied with Carolyn Bigda’s column. Thank you for writing.

Kind regards,

Pete Reinwald
Content editor
Consumer finance
Chicago Tribune
Tribune Newspapers

[previous email]

 

FICO 8 credit score distribution, 25 percent, misinformation

From: Greg Fisher
Sent: Tuesday, May 15, 2012 11:02 AM
To: Rob Berger, Dough Roller
Subject: credit score distribution, Dough Roller

You wrote, “According to Fair Isaac, the creator of the FICO credit score, more than 25 percent of consumers who have active credit files (about 43 million people) have FICO scores of 599 and below.”

The chart you included indicates that less than 25 percent have scores of 599 or below.

However, there is a greater problem.


Greg Fisher
Page A2
pagea2.com
PO Box 342
Dayton, Ohio  45409-0342