Comptroller Stringer Expands ‘Making Rent Count’ Program to Address Deep Disparities in Credit Scores Across the City
October 2, 2018
Program allows residents of Grand Street Guild Apartments to add rent payments to credit histories, helping establish or boost their credit scores
(New York, NY) — New York City Comptroller Scott M. Stringer announced today the expansion of the “Making Rent Count” program in over 600 units at Grand Street Guild Apartments on Manhattan’s Lower East Side. The opt-in program allows residents to make monthly rent payments count toward their credit scores, just as mortgage payments do for homeowners – helping tenants take control of their credit and secure better rates for loans, insurance, cell phone bills and more.
Today’s launch is offered in collaboration with Enterprise Community Partners, Catholic Charities, and Grand Street Guild property managers Wavecrest Management. The initiative aims to lift scores in a community that faces deep disparities in access to credit. While the Lower East Side zip code encompassing Grand Street Guild boasts a relatively high average credit score of 691, more than 19% of community members currently hold subprime scores, forcing them to pay more for everything from cell phones to car insurance, while denying them access to loans and other financial opportunities.
“A credit score might only be three digits, but it has an outsized effect on New Yorkers financial lives,” said Comptroller Stringer. “As New York City continues to face an affordability crisis, we need commonsense solutions to help the communities hit hardest get ahead. The hard-working tenants of Grand Street deserve the same chance of boosting their credit as homeowners with million dollar mortgages do. I want to thank all of our partners for helping to deliver this vital service to Grand Street residents.”
“Good credit is a powerful tool that enables individuals and families to access financial opportunities that otherwise may have been out of reach. By empowering residents to invest in their financial future, the Rent to Build Credit Program makes communities like Grand Street Guild platforms for opportunity,” said Judi Kende, vice president and New York market leader, Enterprise Community Partners. “Enterprise was proud to develop this pilot program alongside the Comptroller’s Office, Wavecrest Management, and Catholic Charities, and we hope it will continue to serve as a model for other communities seeking to support residents.”
“We’d like to thank Comptroller Scott Stringer, and we are extremely pleased to partner with his office to offer this important initiative to our hard-working residents, giving them a secure and easy way to increase their credit scores,” said Susan Camerata, Chief Financial Officer of Wavecrest Management. “We are always looking to offer valuable amenities to our many residents, so the Comptroller’s ‘Making Rent Count’ program is another telling example of a great team effort.”
The program is the third pilot launched as part of the Comptroller’s “Making Rent Count” initiative, which aims to develop rent reporting programs across the five boroughs. In February, the Banana Kelly Community Improvement Association gave more than 600 tenants in the South Bronx the option of adding rent information to their credit scores. In April, the program extended to 1,400 units within Ocean Bay Apartments in the Far Rockaways, home to the lowest median credit score in New York City. Comptroller Stringer is working with Enterprise Community Partners to develop more pilot programs over the coming year to demonstrate how rent reporting programs can benefit local communities.
The benefits of incorporating rent payment information into credit files are detailed in the Comptroller’s October 2017, “Making Rent Count” report, in which the Comptroller’s Office studied a representative sample of city tenants paying rents under $2,000 and found that reporting rent history would:
- Raise credit scores for 76 percent of New York City renters who currently hold a credit score. Specifically:
- More than half (57%) would see their score rise between 1 and 10 points;
- Nearly one in five (19%) would have their score boosted by 11 points or more;
- 18 percent would see no change at all;
- 6 percent would see a possible decline in their scores.
- Provide nearly 30 percent of renters with a credit score for the first time. The average new score for these mostly low-income renters – now categorized as “invisible” or “unscorable” because of the relative dearth of financial information in their credit files — would be a prime score of 700.
To read the Comptroller’s “Making Rent Count” report, click here.