Student group unveils new product to help improve Penn student credit scores


The Student Federal Credit Union at the University of Pennsylvania is designed to help increase a consumer’s UltraFICO score. (Photo by Rohan Valrani)

The Student Federal Credit Union at the University of Pennsylvania is rolling out a credit generator this week, the first of its kind aimed specifically at increasing UltraFICO credit scores, student leaders said.

Penn’s New Credit Credit SFCU is designed to help increase a consumer’s UltraFICO score, which launched in january. The score will complement the traditional FICO score, which is used by lenders to determine a customer’s creditworthiness. UltraFICO scores generally benefit consumers with little credit history or poor credit scores.

“UltraFICO is meant to help exactly the types of people who are like students at Penn,” said Adrian Lapsenson, director of loans at SFCU and College and Wharton, because students typically don’t have a credit history. extensive.

Credit builder SFCU allows members of the credit union to take out a low-interest loan with their savings account serving as collateral if the borrower does not repay their loan, group executives said. This creates a credit history for the members which makes it easier to obtain loans in the future.

The new credit builder loan differs in the way it increases the UltraFICO score of a consumer, who assesses financial behavior depending on how people manage their checking, savings or money market accounts.

“There are some changes we were able to implement in the way the loan is structured, where the loan will interact with your checking account and generate checking account activity, reflected in a better UltraFICO score,” Lapsenson said. .

This will help people like students whose regular FICO score may be low due to a lack of information that FICO can rely on, he said.

SFCU’s new offering would be “very useful for people like international students who don’t have an extensive credit history” in the United States, said Wesley Sheker, CEO of SFCU and senior of Wharton and Engineering.

The credit builder took a year to form, said Sheker, who is a former reporter for the Daily Pennsylvanian. The first step in this process was to ensure that the new product complied with government regulations since SFCU is a federally chartered credit union and is regulated by the National Credit Union Administration, he added.

Currently, SFCU at Penn relies heavily on word of mouth to market new products with existing customers and SFCU employees talking to other students, Emily Becker, a freshman at the university and SFCU bank teller, said.

“A lot of marketing is just talking to my friends at the credit union,” Becker said.

SFCU at Penn plans to work with relevant student groups on a case-by-case basis to increase awareness of their services, Sheker said. He added that they had previously worked with Penn Money Matters, a group that seeks to improve financial literacy, and said they hope to reach groups of international students.

“We continue to work on something to connect with students that these products can actually benefit from,” Sheker said.

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