Rep. Ritchie Torres Convenes Roundtable of Black Community and Faith Leaders to Discuss Strengthening Black Financial Independence and Creating a Juneteenth Credit Score

Two days after Juneteenth, Rep. Torres Calls for Alternative Credit Score Models and an Increase in Homeownership Opportunities for the Bronx’s Black and Brown Communities

Jun 21, 2024
In the News

Earlier today, U.S. Representative Ritchie Torres (NY-15) brought together a coalition of Black community and faith leaders for a roundtable conversation in the Northeast Bronx. The discussion centered on revolutionizing credit score reporting by embracing methods like VantageScore 4.0, which utilizes alternative data to enhance credit access. This cutting-edge model leverages non-traditional data, such as rent and utility payment histories, to generate credit scores for individuals who are typically credit-invisible. By expanding credit access through these innovative means, the initiative aims to significantly boost homeownership rates within Black and brown communities, breaking down historical barriers and fostering greater economic equity and opportunity.

On the roundtable, Rep. Torres said:

“The VantageScore 4.0 model promises to be a game-changer for Black and brown communities. By transforming the landscape of credit scoring, this innovative model is set to bring about a seismic shift, making approximately 33 million previously credit-invisible consumers scorable. Among these, nearly 5 million African Americans and around 4 million Hispanic Americans will now find themselves recognized by the financial system. Out of these newly scorable consumers, 13 million are projected to achieve a credit score of 620 or higher, a critical threshold for homeownership eligibility. This breakthrough doesn’t just open doors—it unlocks a future where 72,000 Bronx residents will have expanded access to capital, and 21,000 will have the possibility of stepping into homeownership for the first time. The significance of the VantageScore model lies in its use of alternative data, such as rental and utility payments, to provide a more comprehensive and inclusive picture of creditworthiness. This model is essential for dismantling long-standing barriers to financial inclusion and empowering marginalized communities with the tools they need for economic advancement and stability.”

Participants in the townhall included:

  • Shirley Fearon – Secretary NAACP Williamsbridge Branch (District Leader)
  • Robert Hall – Chair, Bronx CB 12 Housing Committee and TA President Gun Hill Houses
  • Gloria Ashby – Bronx Neighborhood Housing Services
  • Rev. Dr. Rabbi Keith Elijah Thompson – Faith Leader
  • Johnnie Goff – Community Leader
  • Brenda Caldwell – President, 52nd Precinct 
  • Arthur Richardson – Community Leader
  • Robert Hall – Chair, Housing Committee Bronx CB 12 
  • Pastor Gooding – Faith Leader
  • Ray Allen – Community Leader 
  • Rev. Reginald E. Paris – Faith Leader

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