Sherri Grant’s phone conversations with her banker gave her just what the doctor ordered — a custom solution for her sometimes ailing credit health. Grant said she reduced her debt, improved her credit rating, and boosted her credit score 50 points in only four months.
“We came up with a plan, I committed myself to it, and I’ve stuck with it,” said Grant, a security guard in Vallejo, California, and a Wells Fargo customer. “It has changed my whole perspective on my finances. I just wish I had taken action like this sooner.”
Grant is among a growing number of customers who have benefited from Wells Fargo’s Financial Health Conversations program, company officials said. Now in its third year, the program included in-depth training for phone bankers at customer service contact centers to help customers with skills like building their credit, budgeting, and saving.
Now these financial health bankers are adding a new service to their conversations with customers: free access to view their FICO® Credit Scores. In late September, Wells Fargo completed its 18-month rollout of FICO Score access for all eligible consumer account holders who use Wells Fargo Online®.
Grant welcomed the ability to view her FICO1 Score via Wells Fargo’s online and mobile banking. “I was glad to see the bank do that,” she said. “It is convenient and really helpful.”
Providing customers with convenient access to their FICO Scores is a great addition to the company’s Financial Health Conversation program, said Michael Kuiper, Wells Fargo’s market development consultant for the contact centers.
“Now that we have the FICO Score experience available, it is a huge win for all our consumer customers,” he said. “It gives them a critical resource, fills a knowledge gap many have about their credit scores, and ties everything together as we work with customers on their overall financial health.”
Though a number of banks and personal finance websites have offered credit score access in recent years, Wells Fargo stands out by combining financial education with access to the FICO® Credit Score, the most widely known and trusted credit indicator, said Susan Keating, president and CEO of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling® — the largest credit counseling organization in the U.S.
“As credit card and student loan debt levels continue to grow for more Americans, it is more important than ever for consumers to have a clear understanding of the role credit scores play in their lives,” she said. “With the expansion of the FICO Score service to all of its online banking customers, Wells Fargo remains on the leading edge when it comes to financial education as a customer benefit.”
More than 6 million customers have viewed their FICO Scores since the company began the rollout by offering the service to credit customers last year, according to Craig Coffey, head of marketing for Consumer Lending and the FICO Score initiative. Those customers also received access to personalized credit tips from Wells Fargo, an interactive graph of their FICO Score history, a list of the factors that affected their credit score, and other resources.
The FICO Score experience is an important part of the financial health resources that Wells Fargo provides its customers, including online credit education and a ground-breaking savings mobile app called Daily ChangeSM, Coffey said.
“We’re listening to our customers and applying what we know about their needs to introduce meaningful financial solutions,” he said. “We’re just at the beginning of an ambitious initiative, yet we are already making steady progress. Wells Fargo now offers a set of tools to help customers manage their spending, saving, debt, and retirement planning, and we’re having more conversations with customers to help them take action.”
Beverly Anderson, head of the company’s Cards and Retail Services group, said the initiative will increase the chance of long-term financial success for customers. “Our vision is to satisfy our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially,” she said. “We know consumers are more likely to succeed if they understand their challenges and possibilities, and the steps they can take to establish healthy financial habits.”
For customer Sherri Grant, the experience has helped her start to make plans for her financial future. She even hopes to apply for a mortgage and buy a home in the next year. “It’s given me a whole new perspective, made me feel better about myself, and feel more confident about the future,” she said. “It’s given me new hope … a whole lot of hope.”
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