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FICO Labs: U.S. Student Loan Delinquencies Climbing Fast, Showing No Signs of Slowing

Size of average student loan has risen 58 percent since 2005

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SAN JOSE, Calif., Jan. 29, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Research by FICO Labs into the growing student lending crisis in the U.S. has found that, as a group, individuals taking out student loans today pose a significantly greater risk of default than those who took out student loans just a few years ago. The situation is compounded by significant growth in the amount of debt that new graduates are carrying.

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The delinquency rate today on student loans that were originated from 2005-2007 is 12.4 percent. The comparable figure for student loans that were originated from 2010-2012 is 15.1 percent, representing an increase in the delinquency rate by nearly 22 percent.

While the delinquency rate is climbing, the average amount of student loan debt is increasing even faster. In 2005, the average U.S. student loan debt was $17,233. By 2012, it had ballooned to more than $27,253 – an increase of 58 percent in seven years. By contrast, the average credit card balance and the average balance on car loans owed by U.S. consumers actually decreased during the same period.

In a related finding, FICO's quarterly survey of bank risk managers conducted in December 2012 found that nearly 60 percent of respondents expected delinquencies on student loans to increase over the next six months. The same respondents expected delinquencies on all other types of consumer loans to decrease, putting the pessimism around student loans in sharp relief.

"This situation is simply unsustainable and we're already suffering the consequences," said Dr. Andrew Jennings, FICO's chief analytics officer and head of FICO Labs. "When wage growth is slow and jobs are not as plentiful as they once were, it is impossible for individuals to continue taking out ever-larger student loans without greatly increasing the risk of default. There is no way around that harsh reality."

Jennings continued, "As more people default on their student loans, their credit ratings will drop, making it harder for them to access new credit and help grow the economy. Even people who stay current on their student loans are dealing with very large debts, which reduces the money they have available to spend elsewhere. The stakeholders in the student lending industry have to take a hard look at the terms and repayment rules for student loans, and the industry may have to develop a new lending model to prevent a bad situation from getting completely out of hand."

A report of the research by FICO Labs is available at www.fico.com/insights (registration is required). The research was based on an examination of 10 million consumer credit files in 2012.

About FICO

FICO (NYSE: FICO) delivers superior predictive analytics solutions that drive smarter decisions. The company's groundbreaking use of mathematics to predict consumer behavior has transformed entire industries and revolutionized the way risk is managed and products are marketed. FICO's innovative solutions include the FICO® Score — the standard measure of consumer credit risk in the United States — along with industry-leading solutions for managing credit accounts, identifying and minimizing the impact of fraud, and customizing consumer offers with pinpoint accuracy. Most of the world's top banks, as well as leading insurers, retailers, pharmaceutical companies and government agencies, rely on FICO solutions to accelerate growth, control risk, boost profits and meet regulatory and competitive demands. FICO also helps millions of individuals manage their personal credit health through www.myFICO.com. Learn more at www.fico.com. FICO: Make every decision count.

For FICO news and media resources, visit www.fico.com/news.

Statement Concerning Forward-Looking Information

Except for historical information contained herein, the statements contained in this news release that relate to FICO or its business are forward-looking statements within the meaning of the "safe harbor" provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially, including the success of the Company's Decision Management strategy and reengineering plan, the maintenance of its existing relationships and ability to create new relationships with customers and key alliance partners, its ability to continue to develop new and enhanced products and services, its ability to recruit and retain key technical and managerial personnel, competition, regulatory changes applicable to the use of consumer credit and other data, the failure to realize the anticipated benefits of any acquisitions, continuing material adverse developments in global economic conditions, and other risks described from time to time in FICO's SEC reports, including its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended September 30, 2012. If any of these risks or uncertainties materializes, FICO's results could differ materially from its expectations. FICO disclaims any intent or obligation to update these forward-looking statements.

FICO and "Make every decision count" are trademarks or registered trademarks of Fair Isaac Corporation in the United States and in other countries.

SOURCE FICO



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