FICO scores have been around since the 1950's and became a major
factor in determining a mortgage borrower's creditworthiness around 1995, when
Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae began recommending their use in the lending process.
The score, which ranges from 300 to 850, factors in how long borrowers have had credit, how they are using it and repaying it, and if they have any judgements or delinquencies logged against them. However, consumers are soon going to start sharing more personal information when applying for a mortgage.
In an attempt to develop a more well-rounded picture of a person's finances beyond credit, tools are being developed to help lenders dig a little dipper.
Fair Isaac Corp, the company behind the widely used scoring formula, and data provider CoreLogic announced last year a collaboration that will result in a separate score that will become available to mortgage lenders and that will incorporate information about payday loans, evictions and child support payments. In the future, information on the status of utility, rent, and cellphone payments may also be included. Since last year, the credit reporting agencies have began to provide information about consumer's income
and rental payment history as an option in their reports.
While this new information may open the door to homeownership for many "thin-file" consumers,
it may also make a borderline borrower look worse on paper.