FICO reveals behaviors behind sterling credit scores
I just came across an interesting article about how tight mortgage lending standards have dashed the hopes of many would-be homebuyers. Thee developers of the most popular credit risk score today revealed some habits and behaviors of “high achievers” with FICO scores above 785.
More than 50 million people — about a quarter of all people with credit scores — are considered high achievers and tend to have “strikingly similar” credit habits regardless of background or life experience, San Jose, Calif.-based Fair Isaac Corp. said.
Some of these habits are fairly predictable: They keep low revolving balances relative to their available credit, don’t max out their credit cards, and consistently make payments on time.
Ellie Mae Inc., which provides mortgage origination software to lenders, reports that the average FICO score for mortgages approved in September was 750, with borrowers making down payments averaging 22 percent, having front-end debt-to-income ratios of 23 percent and back-end DTIs of 34 percent.
Those whose applications were denied had an average FICO score of 704, with borrowers willing to make down payments averaging 12 percent. The average front-end debt-to-income ratio was 27 percent; the average back-end DTI was 44 percent.
The average FICO scores for purchase mortgages eligible for purchase and guaranteed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac was 762 (compared with 729 for denied applications), while FICO scores on FHA-backed purchase loans averaged 701 (compared with 665 for denied applications).
The FICO score does not take into account attributes such as race, gender, age, marital status, salary, employment history or address, the company said. FICO’s consumer website, myFICO.com, offers tips and tools to help people make decisions about their credit.
“Because a high FICO score is typically achieved over time and takes into account dozens of variables, there are no ‘quick fixes’ for rapidly improving scores or repairing bad credit,” Sprauve said.
“Practicing good credit behavior consistently over time and regularly checking your credit report for errors can be instrumental for achieving a high credit score, which can lead to better loan terms and lower interest rates. Achieving good credit health is a long-distance event, not a sprint.”