TransUnion has long been a proponent of improving credit visibility through the use of alternative data, such as cell phone and utility bills, in consumers’ credit history, so that lenders can have a fuller picture of their financial standing. This is a key component to elevating more than 60 million credit-invisible people — those who would not qualify under traditional credit evaluations — to new opportunities that would otherwise be unavailable to them.
As a veteran, I am proud to see current legislation that would require the incorporation of alternative data to help more veterans get access to housing loans and credit. As a result of serving, many veterans may have put off major purchases, such as a house or car, which would build their credit history. Alternative data allows other information to be considered as they enter civilian life. With all that these brave veterans do for their country, it’s important that we eliminate barriers that could prevent them from beginning the next chapter of their lives when they return from service.
The Building Credit Access for Veterans Act, introduced by Senators Tim Scott (R-SC) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), directs the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) to create a pilot program to adopt a more modernized process for incorporating alternative data into its automated underwriting system for VA-backed loans. Our veterans deserve to have this process go as smoothly and comprehensively as possible without the added responsibility put on them.
The inclusion of alterative data in individuals’ credit history aligns with TransUnion’s longstanding advocacy of broadening access to credit, especially for underrepresented communities and those who may have not had the opportunities and privileges to build a credit record by traditional means. By doing so, more people have an entry point to get a loan or access credit for themselves, their family or their household. Our veterans deserve our gratitude, and this is just one way we can repay them for their service. TransUnion is eager to see our servicemembers benefit from alternative data. We fully support this legislation and will continue to work with Congress to ensure all Americans can benefit from greater access to credit and financial opportunity.