JIM HENRY

FICO has right idea on car-loan dings

Jim Henry is a special correspondent for Automotive News

I wonder why nobody thought of this until now.

The newest generation of FICO score is designed to deliver something dealers have been asking for: a credit score that gives consumers credit for keeping up their car payments even if their payment history has some temporary blemishes on other types of loans.

Previously, a ding on any loan was treated like a ding on all loans, said Careen Foster, director of scores product management for FICO. On the other hand, she said in a phone interview last week, consumers who show a sustained pattern of poor payment behavior will see their scores deteriorate.

FICO says most auto lenders will have adopted the new scoring system by the end of May. VW Credit, Santander Consumer USA, and First Investors Financial Services already are using the new scores.

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