NOTE: this is a long blog but I believe you will enjoy it (just forewarning you!)
So last few months I have been watching “Squawk Box” in the morning on MSNBC to see what is going on in this crazy financial world with everything going overall downward
On 12/15/2022 their Chairman John Hope Bryant was on a segment talking about their new program
“Community Credit Score Index”
NOW let me be the first to say this company IS A LEGITIMATE Non-profit company, I applaud them for their overall mission and goals.
That is what perplexes me about this “interview” as I had to rewind it numerous times as his statements were not matching up with previous comments and he made OBVIOUS false statements if you have some minor understanding about credit and how it works which is what I can speak on.
I want to make that clear.
The majority of credit repair or credit education statements he made were bold face lies so I am unclear why the chairman of this nonprofit who was representing what seems to be a new product to market/Sell would be so incredibly misinformed on a subject matter that he was promoting.
I will dive into each aspect of it and tell the actual facts as opposed to what he stated on MSNBC’s Squawk Box.
NOW as I go through this I DO NOT want to discourage anyone from looking to this foundation for help but maybe be a tad cautious about this specific area of help they are offering. I will be discussing and breaking everything in detail that he promoted below.
The news media of course now these days literally just copies and pastes the article everywhere and send it out as their own which is what worries me since they also copy and paste every incorrect and false thing in that interview.
A quick google search of this topic pulls up numerous companies/websites literally cutting and pasting the main article and promoting it. It shows you how easily false and misleading information can get out there and go everywhere.
As I go through this you can fact check me yourself for certain things OR use some common sense once I point it out to you.
The first thing is the HOPE Community Credit Score Index that is said to be the first of its kind tool that measures average credit scores neighborhood by neighborhood across the US.
WELL, they are getting this data directly from the credit bureaus (Experian is mentioned) who already sell or promotes this data, so if you wanted it you could buy it from them directly, it’s what they do… sell our data.
You might have seen examples of these types of articles over the years that say the “cities or with the highest credit scores or the lowest credit scores”.
Well within those cities are neighborhoods, so that data is already out there, that’s where credit card companies purchase information from the credit bureaus and send those “pre-approved credit card offers for example, they ask the credit bureaus for credit scores in certain zip codes based off certain parameters.
How is that any different than this you ask? It’s not, they just went smaller than the city data articles and choose town/neighborhoods instead.
NOW, if they are making it easy to access by allowing people to click a few buttons that’s a different story. I’m certain it will be incorporated other ways.
Now one of the things that truly baffled me was when a chart was pulled up comparing an affluent neighborhood and what I assume a lower income (Lincoln park and Garfield park in Chicago is mentioned) area that now with Experian’s data they compared the difference to those 2 neighborhoods which are 15 minutes apart from each other and the range difference of credit scores were approximately 597-739 close to 150 point difference.
He then stated and I quote “ you live 20 years longer because of your credit score, because of your zip code “
Don’t believe me? Here is a link to watch the 5 minute interview; this statement was at the 1:40 minute mark.
I personally think in my opinion that statement was INCREDIBLY in poor taste to say, if you watch the news, there are a lot of shootings and death unfortunately in Chicago and it’s all over the news especially local news (according to a friend of mine in Chicago). A lot of it is sad to say are people getting hit in cross fire and many children have died which is incredibly sad.
BUT to try to say that if you had a better credit score you would live longer or MAYBE he is saying that you would not have to live in a lower income neighborhood if your credit score was better? It would have been nice to clarify such a strange statement, poor job by the host not to ask that OBVIOUS follow up question.
FACT: Even if you had a 8oo credit score but your income was in the 25k as shown on the chart they displayed you could not live in a higher income neighborhood as the one mentioned with a median income of 117k since it would not be financially affordable to do so.
EX: you work at McDonalds making $15 an hour 40 hours a week for a month brings in a total of $2,400. If the average rent/mtg in that higher area is a $2000 a month. Your credit score does not matter since this is a financial issue of affordability NOT a credit issue.
We can only guess as to why the host also let that one breeze right past him I do not know, so how you miss a follow up question like that is beyond me.
It makes me think this was a paid spot disguised as an “interview” BUT I have no proof other than seeing this host in action who is pretty sharp and jumps on other people he interviews.
BUT let’s get into MY area of expertise which is credit scores and credit repair, as I usually state in this blog a little about me so you can be certain ( or fairly certain ) that I know what I’m talking about is I have been in the credit industry now over 17 years, have analyzed over 24,000 reports in that time, I have written a book (but these days hasn’t everyone?) currently an instruction for the Texas Real Estate Commission as one of their Continuous Education instructors with a credit education course ( I think maybe the only one in Texas but probably at least 1 more out there) and a few other accolades but you get the gist of my background.
So when he was asked by the host Andrew Ross Sorkin:
“So when you look at changing a credit score what are you actually doing and how are you doing that”?
Now in defense of Mr. Bryant, that is a loaded question since a credit report is like a thumb print and every thumb print is different so what works for one person does not work the same exact way for the other person which is the main issue where all of the false statement he makes comes from.
Mr. Bryant makes the standard accurate statement that most people do not look at their credit score and majority has an error on their credit report. Then however he says:
“90% of the time the law states if you go to the credit bureaus and challenge that error and they can’t confirm it’s yours they must remove it”.
I’m certain this was just a minor error in speaking on his part as the law states your credit file must be 100% accurate.
Then he tries to say that 90% of the time when they challenge items they remove it and that pops your credit score 30 points. That’s a strong statement to make EXPECIALLY when we pay attention to the things he says next.
I will address this fallacy further down as the blatant HUGHE lie is next…
In the next Blog Part II (the good stuff with the MAJOR LIES) ( release date 12/22/2022 )