The FICO Score Fiasco

“Sometimes it hard to know what to do.”  Bukowski


With COVID putting the pinch on us, we’re getting down to the nitty-gritty of insufferable solitude. The pent-up energy is volcanic. It’s fish or cut bait time. Open up, let us out, or else. Something’s gotta give.

The day began being mildly ticked off. Not about big things, things that numb the senses. Just the little irritants, things like an embedded sand spur in your toe. Or, today, news that my FICO score has been violated.

The FICO-score news arrived in yesterday’s mail along with the usual refuse, some not much different than the fertilizer my neighbor’s dog sometimes dumps on the flowers.

I flip through it, and there, in bold letters is my FICO score. It has been dinged by 80 points by the credit bureau. I feel myself about to go haywire, the Fates deciding to air out some of the complex mental junk I’d been carrying around and unleash it on the world.

Before going totally ballistic over the disparaging FICO score, I resort to advice from the Good Book, the one with red-letter writing.

I close my eyes, flip to a page and blindly put a finger on a random line. There, for better or worse, is today’s advice. It reads, “Forgive, if you have anything against anyone.”  

I wish my finger had found the part that reads, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” Inheriting is a blessed thing, easier than working for it. But it comes with the caveat of ‘meek.’ Being meek is hard.

      Now that’s easier to read than to achieve, especially when I think of my neighbor’s dog. Not that I hold anything against his dog doing daily duties, but in the flowers? I shout across the lawn, “Hey, put it in your pocket.” He hollers back, “It’s compost.” Did I just read about ‘Forgiveness?’ I meekly regret the finger I gave him.

Back to FICO. Without pristine credit a stigma follows you for a lifetime. It’s the equivalent of having 666 stenciled to your forehead. Without it you can’t buy, borrow or barter.

I vent frustrations to my wife. “Can you believe this? FICO dinged me 80 points, and for no justifiable reason.”

     “Computers make no mistakes. What did you do?”

     “Says I missed a $60 payment to Comcast 5 years and 1 month ago. Their error. Comcast actually owed me a $32 credit.”

     “So, take it up with Comcast.

     “Have you ever tried to negotiate anything with this den of thieves?”

     “Keep calling. Besides, what do you care? You were born in 1942, who’s going to extend credit to you anyway?”

     “Look, says here my oldest account was opened 45 years and 5 months ago. That’s before computers and cell phones. The average age of my accounts is 31 years and 11 months. Proof of pristine credit.” She reads the notice.

     “Says here your score was affected by the ‘derogatory indicator.’ Your past finally caught up with you.” She laughs.

     “This is no laughing matter. I have a derogatory indicator rap sheet now. I’m ruined. Forgiveness is out of the question.”

      “Pretend you’re a politician. They’re used to the DI. Just change your name and reapply. This is America, people are born again all the time.”

I call the banker, maybe I can slip by. “Hi, say, wonder if I can get a loan to tide me over?”

     “How much do you need?”

     “About $5 thousand should do it, enough to buy a freezer. I’m stocking up for round two of the apocalypse.”

     “I’ll run a quick FICO score on you, hold on.”

Silence for about a minute, and she comes back. “Well, seems you have a problem. The FICO score derogatory indicator disqualifies you. It indicates you’re a bad risk now, ineligible for a loan.”

     “How can I shake this FICO curse?”

     “Dying is one way, or you can take it up with Comcast. Take your pick. Besides, there’s been a run on freezers. None available, a five-year back-order. Buy rice and beans instead. Cheaper, and they don’t ask for your FICO score.”


     “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” Really? Maybe next time my finger will find, “Wine makes merry, but money answers all things.” And it says nothing about being meek.

So to hell with FICO scores. I’ll just wait meekly for my stimulating check. Good luck with your PPP application.


Bud Hearn

May 4, 2020