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Unlocking Doors: The Promise and Peril of Using Alternative Data in Mortgage Underwriting

The use of utility, telecommunications, and rental (UTR) payment history in mortgage underwriting has attracted recent policy attention as a solution to the nation’s persistent homeownership and wealth gaps. Such data show how a diverse range of people meet household expenses each month, and they may point to how well people might perform with an affordable mortgage. To date, most credit bureau information comes from repaying loans and credit cards, and it is essentially blind to many households of color, consumers with low incomes, young adults, recent immigrants, and other adults who for myriad reasons have no or “thin” credit files. Up to 20 percent of US adults cannot be scored under widely used credit scoring models. Numerous actors across the housing finance system are rewiring their processes to better account for UTR data in mortgage credit underwriting.

The Urban Institute and FinRegLab invite you to an event examining the current state of play and the policy landscape for the use of UTR data. The event will explore recent innovations and pilots to further such financial inclusion and the challenges of significant systems change. In addition to presenting findings from a national landscape scan of UTR data policy and practice, the event will feature leaders from the field to discuss data access and quality and how to build more robust credit scoring models.



Opening Remarks

  • Janneke Ratcliffe, Vice President for Housing Finance Policy, Urban Institute


Keynote Speaker

  • Teresa Bryce Bazemore, President and Chief Executive Officer, Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco


Overview of the Joint Report

  • Kelly Thompson Cochran, Deputy Director, FinRegLab
  • Michael Stegman, Nonresident Fellow, Housing Finance Policy Center, Urban Institute


Panel 1: Building Better Models (With New and Old Data)

  • Michael Akinwumi, Chief Tech Equity Officer, National Fair Housing Alliance
  • David Battany, Executive Vice President, Capital Markets, Guild Mortgage
  • Phillip W. Bracken, Managing Director, Government and Mortgage Industry Relations, VantageScore
  • Lester Firstenberger, Chief Executive Officer and Founder, AiCurio
  • Scott Zoldi, Chief Analytics Officer, FICO
  • Georgia Kromrei, Senior Mortgage Reporter, HousingWire (moderator)


Panel 2: Data Access Issues

  • Samir Goel, Cofounder, Esusu
  • Jason Gross, Cofounder and Chief Executive Officer, Petal; Chief Executive Officer, Prism Data
  • Talia Kahn-Kravis, Senior Manager, Innovations and CDFI Fund, Credit Builders Alliance
  • Shawn Rife, Head of Risk Scoring and Financial Inclusion, Experian
  • Chi Chi Wu, Attorney, National Consumer Law Center
  • Swapna Venugopal Ramaswamy, National Housing and Economy Correspondent, USA TODAY (moderator)




Fin Reg Lab


We strive to host inclusive, accessible events that enable all individuals, including individuals with disabilities, to engage fully. Please email [email protected] if you require any accommodations or have any questions about this event.

Date & Time Thursday, April 14, 2022

  • Vice President for Housing Finance Policy
    Interim Vice President for Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center
  • Nonresident Fellow
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