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VantageScore widely used by major lenders, study shows

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VantageScore, the credit scoring model created by Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, is already widely used by lenders, according to a study by consulting firm Oliver Wyman.

The study, which was released Wednesday, comes as the Federal Housing Finance Agency is considering whether to allow Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to use alternatives to the “classic” FICO credit scoring model they have relied on for the past two years.

In a press release, VantageScore said that Oliver Wyman’s findings dispel a misconception that the increase in the use of VantageScore credit scores is being driven principally by the company’s allowing consumers free access to their scores for credit monitoring purposes. Instead, the report found almost 75% of the more than 8.5 billion VantageScore credit scores used during the research time period were used by lenders.

“This report underscores that lenders support competition, and use VantageScore for credit decisions together alongside many other different types of data and other models,” Barrett Burns, president and CEO of VantageScore Solutions, said in the press release.

“The wide industry usage of VantageScore also speaks to the depth of lender testing of the VantageScore, which is an indication that competition is raising the bar for all model developers to build more predictive and inclusive credit scoring models.”

The study reviewed a 12-month period between July 2016 and June 2017, and examined the use of VantageScore credit scores based on two dimensions: usage by market participant type, such as credit card issuer, auto lender, institutional investor, direct-to-consumer websites, etc.; and usage by function, such as pre-screen, origination/underwriting, portfolio management, or consumer disclosure/credit monitoring.

It found that more than 2,200 financial institutions used more than 6 billion VantageScore credit scores.

Consumer and personal lenders, many of which are so-called marketplace lenders, used a total of approximately 750 million VantageScore credit scores.

The nonlender category, such as tenant screening, telecommunications, and utility companies, accounted for more than 750 million of the VantageScore credit scores used.

The study also found that investment firms use VantageScore to help analyze bonds backed by pools of loans, as well as for stress testing valuing investments.

By product type, Oliver Wyman found that credit card issuers were by far the largest users of VantageScore credit scores. Of the 6.4 billion VantageScore credit scores used by financial institutions, credit card issuers used approximately 4.9 billion. Among credit card issuers, pre-screening and portfolio management (e.g., credit line increase/decrease decisions, risk assessment of portfolio, loss forecasting) represented the largest volume of uses.

“Lenders use credit scores in many different ways, often together with other inputs, including other credit scoring models. Our study confirms that VantageScore credit scores were used in significant volumes, throughout the entire lifecycle of consumer lending and across every relevant category except mortgage originations,” Peter Carroll, partner at Oliver Wyman, said in the same press release.

“We found a significant number of credit scores used specifically in the origination of new loans, which contradicts the idea that lenders use only one brand of credit score to make lending decisions,” Carroll said.

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