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CFPB releases data on pandemic credit scores

Federal Issues CFPB Consumer Finance Credit Scores Covid-19

Federal Issues

On January 25, the CFPB released a blog post on credit score transitions during the Covid-19 pandemic. Using data available to the Bureau, the agency examined the transitions of consumers across credit score tiers using a commercially available credit score. According to the Bureau, the data used quarterly snapshots from June 2010 through June 2022 of the Consumer Credit Panel (CCP), which is a 1-in-48 deidentified longitudinal sample of credit records from one of the nationwide consumer reporting agencies. The Bureau assigned consumers to five credit score bins : deep subprime (300-579); subprime (580-619); near-prime (620-659); prime (660-719); and superprime (720-850). For each quarter of the CCP through June 2021, the Bureau assigned consumers a credit score bin reflecting their credit score, and a score bin reflecting their credit score 12 months in the future. The Bureau reported that transitions out of the subprime credit score tier was more common during the pandemic. Before the pandemic, 37 percent of consumers with subprime credit scores remained in the subprime tier after one year, and 26 percent dropped to the deep subprime tier. The Bureau also found that of consumers with near-prime credit scores, 24 percent transitioned to a lower tier before the pandemic, compared to 21 percent after the pandemic. Because prime credit scores are important to access lower-cost credit, the increasing number of transitions out of subprime credit scores is one factor that led to increased access to credit during the pandemic. Nevertheless, the Bureau warned that a higher credit score may not be enough to offset rising costs for goods purchased on credit.

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