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VantageScore: a rival credit score

Barrett BurnsBarrett Burns is president and CEO of VantageScore Solutions LLC, the company behind the VantageScore model, which is a generic credit score developed as a joint venture among the three national credit reporting companies, or CRCs: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Prior to joining VantageScore as CEO during its formation in 2006, he was executive vice president at U.S. Trust, heading the National Private Banking Group and a member of U.S. Trust's Executive Committee and the Senior Management Team of its parent company, The Charles Schwab Corporation. Previously, he served as executive vice president of global risk management and chairman of the Credit Policy Committee at Ford Motor Credit Company and as senior vice president and COO of Bank One's auto finance division, the largest noncaptive lender in the U.S. at the time. Burns also spent more than a decade with Citibank, lastly as group credit officer for an international consumer banking division that included operations throughout the U.S. and Europe.

He is a 2011 member of the Federal Reserve Board's Consumer Advisory Council, a director of the Homeownership Preservation Foundation and also serves as a member of the Corporate Board of Governors for the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals. Burns received a bachelor's in economics from Washington and Jefferson College. (Bio provided by VantageScore.)

 

Say "credit score," and many consumers may automatically think of FICO, the most widely used credit score. Depending on where you buy your score, however, you may get one from another, newer upstart: VantageScore.

Launched in March 2006, VantageScore was the brainchild of the three credit reporting bureaus: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion. Pulling together their knowledge of credit data, these three developed a credit score designed to score more people by using oft-ignored credit data.

In this Q&A with Bankrate.com, Barrett Burns, CEO of VantageScore Solutions LLC, talks about the inception of his company's credit score, how it differs from other scores and how consumers, especially those with "thin files" or scant credit records, can benefit from this score.

QuestionWhat is VantageScore?

Answer VantageScore is a generic credit-scoring model. Generic meaning it uses the general data in the major credit files of the major credit reporting bureaus as opposed to a custom score that often large lenders use in very large portfolios for their own target market and their own circumstances.

QuestionWhy did the credit reporting agencies decide to form VantageScore?

Answer A number of lenders ... asked the bureaus to accomplish three things … around 2002 or 2003. The major lenders were seeing -- and I say major because they have databases big enough to see it -- roughly (around the year) 2000 that consumer debt per person was increasing very dramatically at the same time a number of … nontraditional mortgage products were coming into the market. A number of the larger lenders were beginning to ask if existing models in the marketplace were picking up these dramatic changes.

The second thing is a number of the lenders were running out of what we call score-able populations. They were running through all the populations that could be scored, and they really thought there were other people out there that could be scored that weren't being (scored).

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