New FICO Score for Mortgage Lenders

Fair Isaac Corp. (FIC) introduced Wednesday a new FICO industry score, BEACON Mortgage Score, specifically designed to help mortgage lenders make the best possible risk decisions when addressing both current homeowners and those aspiring to own, the company said in a press release. Equifax plans to make the new score available in April to mortgage lenders and servicers for use in their loan servicing decisions including mortgage loan modifications. “One of the goals of our alliance with Equifax is to bring both companies’ assets and expertise to bear on the uncertainty facing lenders, borrowers and investors,” said Lisa Nelson, vice president of Global Scoring Solutions for FICO. “This new score… couldn’t be more timely or valuable…” The new score builds upon the predictive power of the current BEACON credit risk score. FICO said by focusing specifically on mortgage risk performance, FICO scientists have developed a version of the BEACON score with greater power for assessing mortgage repayment risk. In early validation testing, the performance of BEACON Mortgage Score was compared to that of the general risk BEACON score when predicting mortgage repayment risk specifically. The new score, according to FICO’s findings, identified up to 25 percent more of the high-risk mortgages and home equity lines-of-credit that later became seriously delinquent. “In business terms, these early results suggest that the use of BEACON Mortgage Score by the industry can potentially save it $1 billion in foreclosure costs and help keep an estimated 115,000 more struggling homeowners in their homes,” FICO said in a press statement. BEACON Mortgage Score retains the same 300-850 scoring range, minimum scoring criteria, and inquiry treatment as previous versions of the BEACON score. However, FICO’s new scoring model assesses several additional data variables derived from Equifax consumer credit files, selected specifically to predict mortgage repayment risk. As a result, the model includes 15 additional score reason codes that are mean to help lenders understand and explain the scores. Write to Kelly Curran at Disclosure: The author held no relevant investment positions when this story was published. Indirect holdings may exist via mutual fund investments. HW reporters and writers follow a strict disclosure policy, the first in the mortgage trade.

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