Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Consumer empowerment and FICO scores

Understanding FICO scores is critical for Consumers who want to take back control of their credit. Indeed, FICO scores are now used not only by lenders when purchasing a car, buying or refinancing a house but also by more and more employers as a measure of character and financial responsibility! In the Forbes video below with Quentin Hardy, I share where to get help to keep your FICO scores up so that you can get the best possible deal on your mortgage and the job you want.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Enterprise sustainability in the real world...

FICO is on its way to reduce its carbon footprint by 50% over three years with no incremental budget, only leadership and vision. This Forbes video with Quentin Hardy is a quick exploration into how it all happened!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Branding as a refocusing exercise: FICO

"March 10, 2009: In the interest of clarity and consistency, Fair Isaac Corporation today announced that it has officially adopted the brand FICO as its corporate identity." This corporate renaming qualifies both as adoption of initials, and elevation of a product brand to the corporate level.

What, or who, is a Fair Isaac? A nice guy, in the credit rating business? As a name, it scores at the top in "whimsical," if not positively cuddly. Turns out, however, that there were two guys, Bill Fair and Earl Isaac, who in 1956 founded "Fair, Isaac and Company" (whence the initials FICO). The comma got lost in 2003, when the legal name Fair Isaac Corporation was adopted. But "Simply removing the comma changed nothing," says Chief marketing Officer Laurent Pacalin; "journalists would still talk about Fair Isaac as 'the guy who did FICO'."

And what is a FICO? Fair Isaac's principal product is the "FICO Score," a credit worthiness number carried by virtually every American, and the leading measure of consumer credit risk in the U.S. It is a number thus central to both crisis and recovery.

This is what Tony Spaeth, Corporate Brand Matrix, had to say about the brand work that we did here at FICO! Read more here.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Three ways to shrink Systemic Risk

Wikipedia defines “financial systemic risk” as, “the risk of sudden collapse of an entire system or market…due to potentially catastrophic instability in that interlinked and interdependent system or market.” That’s a fine definition, but few of us need to look it up. It’s been nine months and counting since systemic risk erupted, and the global financial system is still tiptoeing around the smoking crater. As the worst recession of our lifetimes grinds on, institutions and governments are working feverishly to build strategic and regulatory protections against future systemic risk cataclysms.

In my view, government regulators and financial executives will have the greatest chance of success in managing and mitigating systemic risk if they understand and act on three related lessons that are emerging from the trauma that began in the autumn of 2008:

 First, beneath the fearsome complexity that can obscure the working of markets, the value of all financial relationships is still defined by the quality of the underwriting – defining underwriting in the broadest possible sense. The old rules still rule: Know your borrower. Know your lender. It’s a simple concept, but the market environment in recent decades has made it harder and harder to execute. We must repair the markets in a way that enables 360-degree underwriting based on clear, transparent, trustworthy data and relationships.

 Second, of all the characteristics that define economic activity, connection is the most important. Institutions considered “too big to fail” are in reality “too connected to fail.” The web of interdependencies that girdles the globe, linking the boardrooms of Wall Street to the kitchen tables of Main Street, can be the economic system’s greatest vulnerability – as Nassim Taleb argues in The Black Swan – or its greatest strength. Job No. 1 for leaders of the world’s financial institutions and market-regulating bodies is to design the architecture of systemic connection to assure strength. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Un2Ve-8f3W4

 Third, despite the enormity of the task facing us, there is a good place to start where we can gain swift traction, and that is with microdecisions – the innumerable individual economic decisions financial professionals and consumers make every day on a global basis. To be clear, I’m not talking about trivial mini-decisions. Microdecisions are the fundamental building blocks of the economic system on all levels. “This [financial] crisis started one mortgage at a time,” Dr. Elizabeth Warren, the Harvard Law School professor who chairs the Congressional oversight panel on government bailout spending, told The New York Times on June 18.