New York Times’ syndicated error about credit scores

[PREVIOUS MESSAGE]

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@pagea2.com]
Sent: Tuesday, July 02, 2013 1:51 PM
To: Tom Troy, reporter, Toledo Blade (Block Communications)
Cc: Tim Grant, reporter, personal finance, housing and banking, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Block Communications); Ignazio Messina, reporter, Toledo Blade (Block Communications); John Robinson Block, publisher and editor-in-chief, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Block Communications); Allan Block, chairman, Block Communications (via S. Smith)
Subject: RE: credit score, math, Block Communications, election, 0.86 factor II

Please reply.


Greg Fisher
The Credit Scoring Site
creditscoring.com
Page A2
pagea2.com
PO Box 342
Dayton, Ohio  45409-0342


From: Ignazio Messina [Toledo Blade reporter]
Sent: Wednesday, July 03, 2013 10:13 AM
To: Greg Fisher
Subject: Re: credit score, math, Block Communications, election, 0.86 factor II

Sorry for the late reply as I have gotten a larger volume of emails this week than most. As we said, the conversion is not perfect, and provides a rough estimate so people can have an “apples to apples.” The most recent article just put out the scores with out conversion. If you have an insight, please share.

Thanks


From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@pagea2.com]
Sent: Monday, July 08, 2013 12:48 PM
To: Allan Block, chairman, Block Communications (via K. Franck); Allan Block, chairman, Block Communications (via S. Smith)
Cc: Ignazio Messina, reporter, Toledo Blade (Block Communications); Mary-Beth McLaughlin, reporter, assistant city editor, Toledo Blade (Block Communications); Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., publisher, New York Times
Subject: RE: credit score, math, Block Communications, election, 0.86 factor II, lack of sources

You compare apples, oranges and passenger rail: A FICO score, the VantageScore and the Equifax Credit Score.  But thank you for eventually replying and saving me a 5 a.m. wakeup call.

I have no formula to equate one credit score with another.  And, even though VantageScore recently announced that it would reconfigure its scale to 300 to 850, that does not mean that the curves of a FICO score model with the same endpoints has the same shape, or that the probability for default at 700 is same for both brands of credit scores.

Regarding your conversion formula, an error of 24 percent (131 on a 551-point scale) is, indeed, rough.  Lest I attribute that inaccurate conversion method to you, I asked for your source.  What is the name of your source?  As you can see, in a story from two years ago, your reporter did not provide a name (even after I asked for the source), either—and it’s not like these are matters of national security.

The blithe notion that such a formula can be so simple does not appear to be an original thought.  Providing the name of your source so that I can ask them about the calculation may help another unwitting reporter from being duped.

Your casual translation notwithstanding, the point is moot because you confused one score with another.  You indicate that one candidate for mayor of Toledo had a credit score of 635 “according to Equifax credit-reporting companies, using the FICO model that runs from 300 to 850.”

However, the scale of that candidate’s credit score that you published starts at 280, not 300 (and that fact is not hard to find; it is notated on the next line of the credit report, directly below the score that you cited).  It was the Equifax Credit Score, not a FICO, and that means that the range is 571, as opposed to the range of the FICO, 551.  So, the candidate’s place on the continuum is not 335 points from the lowest score (as you reported), it is 355 points from the lowest.

At this point, I am not as concerned with credit score comprehension, interpretation, bad math logic and an unusual local election tradition as I am with a shadow that I have chased for 5 years.  In 2005, with no substantiation, you reported, “Increasingly, though, such scores are used by landlords, potential employers, and insurance companies to determine someone’s financial health.”

That typical fear-mongering word-series setup (the lions-tigers-and-bears line of this pathetic chapter in journalism), leads many articles about credit scores in order to shock the reader and win attention.  But it isn’t the truth.

As you can see in this email thread, I originally contacted you two years ago—enough time for you to name a source or make a correction.  Subsequently, you even republished a New York Times item from late last year that also makes the inaccurate claim that employers use credit scores.  The downside of syndication is the syndicated error.

Belief of this myth has had serious consequences in other parts of the country, and I want to end that nonsense before it comes to our statehouse again.  Employers do not use credit scores.  I looked into it.

Not many seemed to care about credit scores when I registered the creditscoring.com domain 14 years ago.  Similarly, today, few seem to care about corrections on Page A2 of the nation’s newspapers.  That is why I registered pagea2.com—to again address a commonplace problem.  The website at that address deals with the antithesis of the burden of proof, standards of evidence and naming sources: Proving what is not true.  It is disproving the conventional wisdom when affirmative statements are a lot of balderdash.  Credit scores are a convenient vehicle.

The only response I expect from you—and I expect it today—is correction of your errors.  In the case I brought to your attention in 2011, two years is enough time to allow you to do something about it.  Given the demonstration of the fallibility of the New York Times, their three-word name is now only a cliché.  Don’t allow that organization’s error to remain on your website and misinform another person.


Greg Fisher
The Credit Scoring Site
creditscoring.com
Page A2
pagea2.com
PO Box 342
Dayton, Ohio  45409-0342

Details relating to New York Times credit score dating story

The New York Times has not responded, so let’s break it down.

1997.  1996 amendments to the FCRA become effective.

2010.  An alleged incident that resulted in a crime.

July 1, 2011.  A woman gives a fantastical account of a life-changing event (the 2010 incident, above) “about a year ago.”  Regarding a date with a man, the woman states, “He asked me point blank what my credit score was and I told him I have no clue.”  Near the end of the piece, she writes, “FYI, he checked my credit score without my approval!”

He didn’t like her figure.

He ended it.  She mentions no crime.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act states, “Any person who knowingly and willfully obtains information on a consumer from a consumer reporting agency under false pretenses shall be fined under title 18, United States Code, imprisoned for not more than 2 years, or both” (1996 amendments to the FCRA).

December 25, 2012.  An article referring to the woman’s claim about her date, “Perfect 10? Never Mind That. Ask Her for Her Credit Score” appears on the New York Times website.  It states, inaccurately, “The credit score, once a little-known metric derived from a complex formula that incorporates outstanding debt and payment histories, has become an increasingly important number used to bestow credit, determine housing and even distinguish between job candidates.”

Employers do not use credit scores.

December 26.  The article is published in at least two of the newspaper’s paper editions. The online version states that it appeared on page A1 of the Times’ New York edition, however, it also appeared on page A1 (the front page) of the National Edition.  The article refers to (conflicting with the account by the woman who went on the date) a dating experience that happened “this year.”

The writer of this website, Page A2 publishes “New York Times front page news, herding cats” on PageA2.com, and alerts the reporter via social media.

December 31.  The writer of this website publishes email to New York Times publisher.  Reporter and New York Times executive editor notified via public social media message.

Email to New York Times publisher

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@pagea2.com]
Sent: Monday, December 31, 2012 1:21 PM
To: Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., publisher, New York Times; Complaints about errors that warrant correction, New York Times
Cc: Jessica Silver-Greenberg, reporter, New York Times; Ann Carrns, Bucks, New York Times; Andrew Martin, reporter, New York Times
Subject: Error: credit scores, 2012-12-26 front page story

In a front page story titled, “Perfect 10? Never Mind That. Ask Her for Her Credit Score,” (page A1, New York Times, December 26, 2012) you published, “The credit score, once a little-known metric derived from a complex formula that incorporates outstanding debt and payment histories, has become an increasingly important number used to bestow credit, determine housing and even distinguish between job candidates.”

However, previously, you published, “Employers don’t use credit scores in employment screening, but they can and do access credit reports.”

Both statements can’t be true.  Regarding the notion that credit scores are even used to distinguish between job candidates, provide a source or make a correction today.

Corrections are published on Page A2.


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

New York Times front page news, herding cats

Today, December 26, 2012, a newspaper named the New York Times published an item on page A1 of its “New York” edition.

The article states, “The credit score, once a little-known metric derived from a complex formula that incorporates outstanding debt and payment histories, has become an increasingly important number used to bestow credit, determine housing and even distinguish between job candidates.”

Key words: increasingly, even, and score (as opposed to report).

The Times fails to attribute its reporting of the alleged use of credit scores to distinguish between job candidates to any source.  However, later in the same article, the publication states, “And while eight states, including California, Illinois and Maryland, have passed laws limiting employers ability to use credit checks when assessing job candidates, 13 percent of employers surveyed by the Society of Human Resource Management in July performed credit checks on all job applicants.”

That says credit checks, not credit scores, so, still, there is no attribution regarding the claim about scores.

The top three consumer reporting agencies all state that they do not provide credit scores for employment purposes.

While the Times refers to a survey conducted in July, SHRM’s website page about a study done December 28, 2011 through Feb. 7 states, “The percentage of employers that conduct credit background checks on potential employees has dropped since 2010, according to a 2012 survey of 544 U.S.-based HR professionals.”

SHRM confirmed that a previous survey it conducted did not refer to credit scores.  The association’s website also states, “A credit score is a number that gives a snapshot of a period of time; employers do not see this information.”

Recently, the President of the United States said:

If you haven’t checked out your credit score recently, you should.  It can have a major impact on your life.  It can determine whether or not you qualify for a loan or what kind of interest you have to pay.  It can even affect your chances at renting an apartment or getting a job.

A year ago, after a Christmastime message about employers and credit scores, Wikipedia (the message board that looks like an encyclopedia) co-founder Jimmy Wales removed an “unsourced controversial claim” about employers using credit scores.  Wales was quickly usurped, and the unbudging myth returned, this time with a reference to the Times.

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.

Zombie myths

In April, using his News Corporation Fox Business thingy, Rupert Murdoch published, “According to the Society for Human Resource Management, 60% of employers check applicants’ credit scores for at least some of their job candidates as part of their hiring process.”

Fox Business website before correction

Fox Business website before correction

That is nonsense, of course, and somebody changed the Fox story.  The new sentence, substituting reports for scores, is “According to the Society for Human Resource Management, 60% of employers check  applicants’ credit reports for at least some of their job candidates as part of their hiring process.”

[Rookie reporters and journalism students: Don’t be afraid to check original sources (Wouldn’t that be novel?).]

But, there is no acknowledgement on that story’s page (whose title uses a question mark) by Murdoch of the error and its correction.  That is not to say, however, that he always acts in such a clandestine manner.  Within another property in his empire, there was clear acknowledgement of the same error.

The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
The Question Mark
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog The Daily Show on Facebook

Unfortunately, due to the syndicated error phenomena, the zombie myth lives.

It also lives in a certain Louisiana State University study, on a United States federal government server, no less, for U.S. citizens to read (and become misinformed).  The National Institutes of Health website states, “Many organizations use credit scores as an employment screening tool, but little is known about the legitimacy of such practices.”

And, here we go, again:

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@pagea2.com]
Sent: Tuesday, November 13, 2012 8:35 AM
To: Rupert Murdoch, chairman and CEO, News Corporation (via Julie Henderson)
Cc: Tim Sullivan, writer, translator, yoga teacher and massage therapist, Money Blue Book
Subject: name your source; coining a term: CUR (credit-utilization ratio)

You published

When you close an account, especially a larger account, your credit-utilization ratio (CUR) will be affected and your score could go down. In addition, if the card you’re closing was the first credit card you ever got, it could shorten the length of your credit history, which can also hurt your score… Closing too many cards at once can cause your credit score to drop sharply from a snowball effect of the reasons mentioned above.

Who is your source regarding closing an account shortening a credit history?  Fair Isaac calls that a myth.

Also, where did you get the idea to use the initials CUR to refer to the so-called credit utilization ratio?  Why don’t you call it PBCL (proportion of balances to credit limits)?


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

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

CompareCards.com did not make the correction

Subsequent message from Comparecards.com

From: Chris Mettler
Sent: Tuesday, June 19, 2012 10:21 AM
To: Greg Fisher
Subject: Re: Interview Inquiry, insight, key factor III

Sure

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@pagea2.com]
Sent: Monday, June 18, 2012 2:32 PM
To: Chris Mettler, founder and CEO, CompareCards.com
Subject: RE: Interview Inquiry, insight, key factor III

Will you make a correction?

From: Chris Mettler
Sent: Monday, June 18, 2012 1:20 PM
To: Greg Fisher
Subject: Re: Interview Inquiry, insight, key factor II

I don’t know anyone at Fair Isaac that said credit utilization was a key factor in the amounts owed category, but it has been assumed from many sources that this is a key factor in determining an individuals credit score. I believe this assumption to be correct given that a high credit utilization (or someone with multiple credit accounts with high credit utilization) would infer to a potential creditor that someone has a higher probability of living beyond their current income target – hence a riskier credit profile.

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@pagea2.com]
Sent: Monday, June 18, 2012 12:06 PM
To: Chris Mettler, founder and CEO, CompareCards.com
Subject: RE: Interview Inquiry, insight, key factor II

Who at Fair Isaac said—or where did the company state in writing—that credit utilization is a key factor in the Amounts Owed category?

From: Chris Mettler
Sent: Monday, June 18, 2012 11:18 AM
To: Greg Fisher
Subject: Re: Interview Inquiry, short

Nope, just didn’t no where we were headed with this … I understand this now …

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@pagea2.com]
Sent: Thursday, June 14, 2012 5:10 PM
To: Chris Mettler, founder and CEO, CompareCards.com
Subject: RE: Interview Inquiry, short

You only (sort of?) answered two questions.

Is the interview over?

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@pagea2.com]
Sent: Wednesday, June 13, 2012 9:31 AM
To: Chris Mettler, founder and CEO, CompareCards.com
Subject: RE: Interview Inquiry, insight, nearly

Fair Isaac has revealed some things about the so-called “credit utilization” ratio, but not what you claim.  When the company explains FICO scoring to a general audience, it applies general weights to major data categories such as, “Amounts Owed is 30 percent of a typical consumer’s score.”  It doesn’t break that weighting into finer parts for individual factors, both to avoid unintentionally misleading the public and to protect the model’s proprietary information.

However, recently, one outlet claimed that Fair Isaac said, “The credit utilization ratio is nearly 30% of a person’s credit score.”

Similarly, you made a statement regarding the importance of a factor, and attribute the information in it to Fair Isaac.  You appear to have knowledge of a statement by the keeper of the secret credit score formula that further defines it.

From: Chris Mettler
Sent: Tuesday, June 12, 2012 1:14 PM
To: Greg Fisher
Subject: Re: Interview Inquiry, insight, key factor

Not sure where all this is going

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@pagea2.com]
Sent: Tuesday, June 12, 2012 1:00 PM
To: Chris Mettler, founder and CEO, CompareCards.com
Subject: RE: Interview Inquiry, insight, key factor

Who at Fair Isaac said—or where did the company state in writing—that credit utilization is a key factor in the Amounts Owed category?

From: Chris Mettler
Sent: Tuesday, June 12, 2012 10:58 AM
To: Greg Fisher
Subject: Re: Interview Inquiry, insight, 15 percent category

Length of Credit Score?

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@pagea2.com]
Sent: Monday, June 11, 2012 5:22 PM
To: Chris Mettler, founder and CEO, CompareCards.com
Subject: RE: Interview Inquiry, insight, 15 percent category

What is the name of another category that accounts for 15 percent of a FICO score?

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 [mailto:greg@pagea2.com]
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

correction policy, Philadelphia Inquirer

From: Greg Fisher [mailto:greg@pagea2.com]
Sent: Tuesday, August 14, 2012 10:14 PM
To: Bill Marimow, editor, Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia Media Network Inc.; Reid Kanaley, columnist, Philadelphia Inquirer
Cc: Laura D. Adams, personal finance expert, Quick and Dirty Tips; Stacy Johnson, CPA, executive producer, publisher, president, journalist, Money Talks News; Jeff Gelles, columnist, Philadelphia Inquirer; Gail MarksJarvis, personal finance columnist, Chicago Tribune; Sam Zell, Tribune Company
Subject: correction policy, Philadelphia Inquirer

Mr. Marimow, please forward this message to Robert Hall of Interstate General Media L.L.C.

See this message and your response at http://www.pagea2.com/correction-policy-philadelphia-inquirer/

You published, “The Money Girl website includes this post by Laura Adams, with tips for raising a score.”

Your link leads to a page on which Adams states, “Your score indicates your creditworthiness to potential lenders, banks, landlords, insurance companies, and even to some employers, for instance.”

Your link to MoneyTalksNews goes to a page that states, “Much like your final grade summarized your command of a course in school, your credit score is the distillation of everything in your credit history,” Stacy [Johnson] wrote in 5 Reasons We Need Free Credit Scores Now.”

The link in that sentence leads to a page where Johnson claims: “It’s no exaggeration to say your credit score can change your life. This single number can determine whether you get a job or own a home.”

In another article, your reporter wrote, “There’s no simple answer, because lenders and others who use credit scores – such as insurance companies and employers – use the data differently.”

And finally, you also published, “Because employers and landlords have access to the scores, they can determine who gets an apartment or even a job.”

Employers do not use credit scores because they cannot even get them.  Who is your source regarding credit score use by employers?

What is your correction policy?


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

 

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

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