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New Scoring System Aims to Help People with Poor Credit

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This April 22, 2005 file photo shows logos for MasterCard and Visa credit cards at the entrance of a New York coffee shop. Fair Isaac, the company behind the widely-used FICO credit score, on Thursday, April 2, 2015 announced a pilot program to help millions of Americans get easier access to credit, based on their record of paying utility bills, instead of their history of loan repayments. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

This April 22, 2005 file photo shows logos for MasterCard and Visa credit cards at the entrance of a New York coffee shop. Fair Isaac, the company behind the widely-used FICO credit score, on Thursday, April 2, 2015 announced a pilot program to help millions of Americans get easier access to credit, based on their record of paying utility bills, instead of their history of loan repayments. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

KEN SWEET, AP Business Writer

NEW YORK (AP) — People struggling with a bad credit score, or lack of one, could benefit from a program rolling out in the next few months aimed at making it easier to get a Visa or MasterCard.

The company behind the widely-used FICO credit score announced Thursday a pilot program to help millions of Americans get easier access to credit, based on their record of paying utility bills, instead of their history of loan repayments.

The potential reach of the program is huge. An estimated 53 million Americans, or a quarter of the U.S. adult population, don’t have FICO scores created by the company Fair Isaac. Roughly 90 percent of all lending decisions — credit card applications and auto loans, among others — are based on that score. Banks would normally deny credit to anyone without one, or they could charge them significantly higher interest rates, because the applicants would be considered risky. Scores range from 300 — poor — to 850 — perfect — and are determined by a borrower’s credit payment history, outstanding balances and length of credit history.

These consumers are often the young, without an established credit history, or immigrants, who are new to the U.S. A disproportionate number of these “unscoreable” people are minorities as well, particularly black and Hispanic consumers, says Ankush Tewari, senior director of market planning at LexisNexis Risk Solutions. LexisNexis is one three companies involved in the program.

The program took two years to develop and came from Fair Isaac. Research showed people who have a history of paying utility bills on time would also pay credit card bills on time.

Under the program, Fair Isaac, working with LexisNexis and credit agency Equifax, will create a payment history profile from a person’s utility bills and public property records. FICO would use that pooled data determine an “alternative” credit score when a person with a poor credit history, or none at all, applies for a credit card.

The scores are being made available to the 12 largest credit card issuers, but Fair Isaac did not say which banks will be participating in the program. A spokesman from JPMorgan Chase, the nation’s largest credit card issuer by number of cards, declined to comment. Representatives from American Express and Citigroup did not respond to requests for comment.

The program, which does not have a name yet, is not designed to replace the traditional FICO score and will only be available to credit card issuers initially. Once a person obtains a card using this alternative score, they would be able to establish a credit payment history. They could then apply for auto or home loans.

“Most people have a cellphone, gas or electric bill, and the size of those payments each month can be sizeable,” says Jason Flemish, vice president of consumer risk and credit products at Equifax. “So let’s give them the opportunity to benefit from paying those bills on time.”

Banks have a financial interest in the program. The millions of Americans without a FICO score are potential borrowers who could get credit cards. Because these borrowers would have limited credit history, banks could charge high interest rates.

The data being gathered by Equifax and LexisNexis is also covered under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, says Tewari of LexisNexis. People will be able to dispute any negative event, like a contested utility bill payment, in their credit report.

“All you have to do is just pay your bills on time. It will give you access to credit system,” Flemish says.

Copyright 2015 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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West Oakland Black Woman Owned Food Collective, “The Black Culinary Collective (BCC)”

“We are doing our part to change the narrative of excellence being categorized as an exception for black makers.

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   A group of Black women who own food businesses are rising from the devastation of the pandemic by sharing a commercial kitchen in West Oakland.

     The Black Culinary Collective (BCC) is led by Chef Reign Free, owner of Red Door Catering, which opened in 2006. 

    Red Door Catering has a 5,000-square-foot kitchen space.  During the pandemic Free’s catering business fell and her business was damaged during the protests.  

     Free also knew other Black chefs who didn’t have the money to rent commercial kitchen space during the pandemic.  

      And so, she applied to and received $50,000 from the Oakland Black Business Fund, which, according to the San Francisco Chronicle, is “an organization that aims to address Black entrepreneurs’ historical lack of access to capital, to help members join the collective rent-free.”

     The collective currently has four members (Teas With Meaning, Baby Bean Pie, Pound Business, and Final Sauce) and is looking for six more.  The members will share the kitchen, sell their goods to the public on-site, and collaborate on projects.  Members will also receive consultations, mentoring and advice on their food businesses.

     BCC hopes to open in August and will be located at 2925 Adeline St. Free continues to raise funds to help collective members have up to a year in the collective rent-free. 

     “It’s important for the people who work in the food and beverage industry to not only know how to cook, but to understand the history and the cultural significance of those that came before us,” Free told the Oakland Post. “We are doing our part to change the narrative of excellence being categorized as an exception for black makers. 

     “The companies that are a part of the collective have established the discipline that allows them to see their vision with clarity and purpose; having a beautiful space that supports learning, collaboration, and service allows us to continue to scale in ways that will positively affect the next generation. The more we share our gifts and talents within our community, the more our communities will thrive.”

 

     For more information, go to BlackCulinaryCollective.com

The San Francisco Chronicle, Mercury News, and Oaklandside.org were sources for this report.

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Good Day Cafe

Good Day Cafe is a black-owned business located in Vallejo,Ca

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 Good Day Cafe is a Black-owned cafe  located at 304 Georgia St. in Vallejo. Their hours are from 7:00 a.m.- 3:00 p.m., Tuesday through Sunday. Good Day Cafe serves Southern-style breakfast and lunch meals. They offer online orders, dine in, and delivery. Visit their website to learn more information https://gooddaycafevallejo.com/ and follow their instagram @gooddaycafevallejo

 

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Rush bowls

The perfect blend of all-natural fruits and veggies topped with delightfully crunchy, organic granola, a drizzle of honey, and your choice of fresh fruits and toppers.

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Rush bowls are the perfect blend of all-natural fruits and veggies topped with delightfully crunchy, organic granola, a drizzle of honey, and your choice of fresh fruits and toppers. Packed with nutrients and fully customizable, Rush bowls offer healthy, delicious alternatives to standard fast-casual fare. Rush bowls is open Mondays-Fridays from 10am-6pm at 350 17th Street, Oakland,CA 94619. Available for indoor dining, and delivery through GRUBHUBhttps://rushbowls.com/oakland

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