The Consumer Data Industry Association brought together representatives from the three nationwide credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – for our latest virtual event: the CDIA Homeownership Roundtable. CDIA’s Eric J. Ellman, Senior Vice President of Public Policy and Legal Affairs, led the conversation on ways the credit bureaus are helping build an equitable path to homeownership amidst the current rise of inflation and surge in housing demand. A special thank you to our distinguished speakers:
- Jennifer Henry, Managing Director/Chief Strategy Officer of Government Credit, Capital Markets and Housing Strategy, Equifax
- Susan Allen, Senior Vice President, Head of Mortgage Product, Experian
- Sumit Gambhir, Vice President of Mortgage, TransUnion.
The group began the conversation by highlighting changes in the housing and mortgage landscape, including numerous industry-provided resources and innovations at consumers’ disposal as they navigate uncertain times on their path to homeownership. The experts discussed technological advancements and innovation including using rent payments to prove a consumer’s creditworthiness–data not traditionally included in consumer credit reports. The panel rallied around their joint commitment to increasing inclusive opportunities for homeownership, especially in underrepresented communities with limited access to credit.
A major theme of the discussion was the continued effort by the credit reporting industry to meet consumers where they are in their financial journeys by building on traditional data to demonstrate their creditworthiness. For example:
- Experian’s Susan Allen spotlighted the use of Experian Boost™ and Experian Go™ products that allow consumers to leverage their own data by utilizing positive utility, phone, streaming and rental payments to help improve their credit scores.
- Equifax’s Jennifer Henry underscored the company’s dedication to building more homeownership opportunities by adding telecommunications (telco), pay TV, and utility payments to consumers’ credit histories. As she stated, this data provides mortgage lenders with an informed snapshot of a consumer’s financial profile and effectively streamlines the mortgage underwriting process for millions.
- Additionally, TransUnion’s Sumit Gambhir reminded the audience that the industry continues to come together to provide consumers with resources to understand their credit health. He added that consumers have access to free weekly credit reports from all three credit bureaus through the end of 2023 at www.annualcreditreport.com.
Further, the speakers discussed how collaborating with trusted partners whose missions align with those of the consumer reporting industry is a crucial aspect of positively impacting marginalized communities. As an example, Susan Allen discussed Experian’s individual partnerships with the National Urban League, HomeFree-USA and UnidosUS to support the financial empowerment of underserved groups and provide them with credit education tools. Also, Sumit Gambhir mentioned TransUnion’s partnership with Finlocker and the Black-owned fintech company Mobility Capital Finance (MoCaFi) for the Blueprint app. This partnership integrates the Credit Compass by TransUnion to allow users to simulate credit building and bridge the gap for Black homeownership.
Additionally, CDIA’s Eric J. Ellman emphasized the three nationwide credit bureaus’ roles in forming a more financially inclusive economy. He reminded consumers that they have a multitude of resources providing them with advice and educational content to aid a successful home buying process. Immediate actions that consumers can take can be as simple as making payments on time and checking their credit reports regularly, so they are aware of their financial standing before pursuing a major life milestone like homeownership.
The CDIA team works alongside the three nationwide credit reporting agencies to provide both immediate and long-term resources to help consumers navigate the ever-changing homeownership environment. We will continue to convene discussions around financial equity and the industry’s commitment to supporting consumers’ financial futures.
Click here to view the CDIA Homeownership Roundtable on LinkedIn.