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FHFA again exploring use of alternative credit score models

The Federal Housing Finance Agency is requesting public comment on a proposed rule that would establish the process for the government-sponsored enterprises to validate and approve credit score models

The regulator has long been exploring the use of alternative credit score models for mortgage underwriting. The implementation of the Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act had dealt a temporary setback to those plans, as the FHFA said in July that it would not make a decision this year about updating the credit score model used by the two government-sponsored enterprises.

While the Act does not require the GSEs to use third-party credit scores, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac must use "a model that has been validated and approved" should they condition the purchase of a mortgage loan on a borrower's credit score.

The proposal, however, would ban GSEs from using credit scores developed by VantageScore LLC. The proposal raised concerns about the "competitive position" of the model jointly owned by Equifax Inc., Experian PLC and TransUnion. The regulator said the three customer reporting agencies hold ownership of the developer and also own the data that both VantageScore and its competitors use to build their credit score models.

The FHFA's evaluation of credit score models also included Classic FICO and FICO 9. The GSEs currently use FICO 5 from Equifax, FICO 4 from TransUnion, and FICOScore from Experian, which are collectively referred to as Classic FICO.