People Appreciate Financial Transparency. Who Knew?

The financial world is now learning what the credit union movement has known all along: people like it when the financial information that is being kept on them, is shared with them.

Predictive analytics specialist FICO – of FICO Score fame – said that new research shows that offering free FICO scores to consumers increases customer loyalty to the financial institutions providing the scores.

Over the past year FICO has begun allowing participating financial institutions to offer the scores to their customers under the FICO Score Open Access program. This program allows credit card customers to keep track of their FICO score every time they log on to their participating card provider’s customer service website.

Keeping track of your FICO score, (and other credit scores), is a good idea, since you are then armed with the information creditors use when evaluating you for a credit card or loan. By keeping regular tabs on these scores, you can also get a fast heads-up on irregular activity on your account – which may be the result of fraud.

Essentially, this program, (and others like it), empower consumers with financial information that used to be kept under wraps by financial institutions.

Often times, the semi-secret nature of credit scores allowed the unscrupulous to dupe consumers into signing onto credit terms that were significantly worse that what they actually qualified for. (This has been a long-standing practice of certain car dealers, for instance).

Consumers appreciate this greater level of transparency, and are rewarding the companies that offer it with greater loyalty, according to FICO.

While this may be news to FICO, credit unions – and CU members – have known for decades that people like honesty and transparency. This is why people join credit unions.

Credit unions operate on a different model than traditional banks. They are not-for-profit, and every CU member is also a part owner of their CU. Because of this, CU personnel have no “mixed motives” driven by profits: they are all about honesty and transparency.

When a CU member is looking to improve his/her credit profile — and to plan for such things as owning a home or buying a new car – that member need only stop by his/her CU to get a 100% complete and honest appraisal of their financial well-being. As a bonus, CU members also get advice and assistance with improving their credit scores.

Transparency is a wonderful thing, as is helping people to improve their financial well-being. While traditional banks may now be learning a thing or two about how appreciated this level of service can be, CUs have built it into their “business model” since the beginning of credit unions.


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