Paper: Geography of Credit Invisibility

Kenneth P. Brevoort, Jasper Clarkberg, Michelle Kambara, and Benjamin Litwin, all currently or formerly at the CFPB, have written The Geography of Credit Invisibility. Here's the abstract:

This study builds on the Bureau’s earlier work and examines the relationship between geography and credit invisibility. The importance of geography in accessing credit has been long-standing concern for policymakers, going at least as far back as early efforts to combat redlining. In recent years, additional interest has been paid to the problems faced by people in “credit deserts,” which generally are defined as areas with little access to traditional sources of credit. Because credit deserts have limited options for accessing credit, residing in those areas may inhibit the ability of consumers to establish an NCRA credit record. If so, the incidence of credit invisibility should be higher in credit deserts than in areas with better access to traditional credit.

This study examines geographic patterns in the incidence of credit invisibility to assess the extent to which where one resides is correlated with one’s likelihood of remaining credit invisible. While determining the underlying factors that cause sustained credit invisibility is difficult and beyond the scope of this study, highlighting geographic variation in credit invisibility can aid policymakers and advance the conversation around potential causes and solutions.

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