SAN JOSE, Calif., April 21, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- FICO (NYSE:FICO), the predictive analytics and decision management software company, today announced that its popular FICO® Score Open Access program is expanding to provide FICO® Scores to approximately one million consumers annually who are in need of credit and financial guidance through qualified non-profit credit counselors and participating government entities. FICO® Score Open Access, launched by FICO in November of 2013, is enabling tens of millions of Americans to regularly receive - at no cost - the actual FICO® Scores purchased and used by lenders.
FICO® Score Open Access for Credit & Financial Counseling, as the program expansion is called, has been designed to aid consumers who have credit management problems by providing FICO® Scores along with credit education material that helps consumers understand credit scoring and learn about responsible financial health management. At the same time Experian, one of FICO's credit bureau partners, has agreed to allow qualified credit counselors to share Experian credit reports with their clients – providing important additional information to consumers who are struggling financially.
"The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) first drew our attention to financial counselors' need to share credit scores with consumers in early 2014 as part of the CFPB's efforts to empower consumers," said Jim Wehmann, FICO's executive vice president for Scores. "Because of FICO's longstanding commitment to consumer financial education, when the CFPB approached us about enabling credit and financial counselors to share FICO Scores they purchase with their clients, we recognized the importance of working with our data partners to make it happen. The popular FICO Score Open Access program has now been extended to approximately one million people who seek assistance each year though these worthy organizations. We consider this a major milestone in our effort to ensure that all Americans have convenient and free access to their FICO Scores."
"Experian is proud to join FICO and the nation's credit counselors to lend our support through this important program for people experiencing financial difficulty," said Genevieve Juillard, president of Experian Consumer Information Services. "It is our mission to be a champion of the consumer, and as the leading provider of consumer credit education and empowerment tools, we are proud to offer Experian's credit reports in conjunction with the FICO Score to help struggling borrowers."
"In today's economy, a good credit history is essential for individuals and families to get and stay ahead," said Sarah Chenven, director of Programs and Strategic Initiatives at Credit Builders Alliance. "The ability to help underserved consumers in particular access their FICO Scores -- and provide educational resources that identify the underlying financial behavior driving those scores -- will strengthen nonprofit counselors' and coaches' toolkits, and may enhance their clients' outcomes."
Eligible credit and financial counseling organizations may participate in the FICO® Score Open Access for Credit & Financial Counseling program in coordination with membership associations, including the Association of Independent Consumer Credit Counseling Agencies and Credit Builders Alliance, and through government and non-government entities, including the Local Initiatives Support Corporation. For more information, financial counseling organizations may visit the FICO Community for credit and financial counseling, a portal created specifically for this program with the support of credit and financial counseling organizations, including Money Management International, Capstone Community Action, GreenPath, and Justine PETERSEN.
The FICO® Score is the score lenders use. FICO is the leader in credit risk scoring, and the FICO® Score is the standard measure of consumer credit risk. Businesses bought more than 10 billion FICO® Scores last year, and the scores are used in 90 percent of consumer lending decisions in the US. All FICO® Scores based on each of the three major credit bureaus are eligible to be included in this program.
FICO (NYSE: FICO) is a leading analytics software company, helping businesses in 90+ countries make better decisions that drive higher levels of growth, profitability and customer satisfaction. The company's groundbreaking use of Big Data and mathematical algorithms to predict consumer behavior has transformed entire industries. FICO provides analytics software and tools used across multiple industries to manage risk, fight fraud, build more profitable customer relationships, optimize operations and meet strict government regulations. Many of our products reach industry-wide adoption. These include the FICO® Score, the standard measure of consumer credit risk in the United States. FICO solutions leverage open-source standards and cloud computing to maximize flexibility, speed deployment and reduce costs. The company also helps millions of people manage their personal credit health.
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