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Foreclosure crisis shifts FICO scores

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FICO scores, which are used by financial institutions to determine creditworthiness, remained "relatively stable" between 2005 and 2011, according to Banking Analytics Blog. Still, new data suggests mortgage foreclosures, delinquencies and bankruptcies take a toll on consumers' FICO scores over the long haul. A new report published on Banking Analytics Blog, which is a blog of the Fair Isaac Corp. (FICO), says in the early part of the recession, consumers swung to the extreme ends of the FICO curve, with more of them landing in the low range with scores of 300 to 499 and in the high range of 800 to 850. There were fewer borrowers in the middle range of 600 to 749. This distribution was the result of consumers wrangling with foreclosures, bankruptcies and loan delinquencies, which push scores lower, or focusing on eliminating debt or postponing purchases that require financing in the midst of the recession, which pushes scores higher. Fast-forward a few years, and it's now apparent scores are moving in the middle range. FICO said 2.8 million more consumers are in the 550 to 649 range now than 2008. "This shift may reflect the enduring impact to credit risk caused by the appearance of serious delinquencies on consumer credit reports," the company said on the blog. "As we reported in March, score recovery from negative events such as mortgage foreclosure typically takes from three to seven years for consumers who meet their credit obligations following such events." Write to Kerri Panchuk.

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