Tipping the SCALE: Will Alternative Data in Credit Scoring Promote or Impede Fair Lending Goals?

Thursday, April 8, 2021 | 1:00pm ET

Homeownership rates for Black and Hispanic Americans have lagged those of White Americans for decades. Achieving homeownership largely depends on access to mortgage credit. NAR commissioned new research that reviews three major types of alternative data that could be used to evaluate a consumer’s creditworthiness: credit proxies, banking data, and, non-financial personal data. Each form of alternative data is evaluated using a newly developed five-factor “SCALE” framework that incorporates important considerations in the data’s predictive power.

On April 8, 2021, NAR hosted a virtual event, moderated by award-winning real estate journalist Michele Lerner, which featured a Q&A presentation on the research by authors, Vanessa G. Perry and Ann B. Schnare. The Q&A presentation was followed by a panel of speakers discussing what others are doing to address and understand the racial homeownership gap and the broader environment related to access to credit, fair lending, and pandemic implications.

Watch the Recording



1:00pm: Welcome Remarks
Charlie Oppler, NAR President

1:05pm: Q&A with Research Authors
Moderator: Michele Lerner
Authors: Vanessa G. Perry and Ann B. Schnare

1:30pm: Panel Discussion of Paper and Alternative Credit
Moderator: Michele Lerner
Panelists: Phil Bracken, VantageScore / Kelly Thompson Cochran, FinRegLab / Barry Wides, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency

1:55pm: Closing Commentary
Michele Lerner, Award-winning Real Estate Journalist



Headshot: Michele Lerner, Award-winning Real Estate Journalist

Michele Lerner

Award-winning Real Estate Journalist

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Michele Lerner, a freelance journalist with three decades of experience, writes about residential and commercial real estate for The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, Mansion Global, PRO Builder magazine, REIT magazine and numerous other publications. She has won several awards for her journalism from the National Association of Real Estate Editors and the Society of Professional Journalism. She is also the author of two books on home buying.


Headshot: Vanessa Gail Perry, Professor and Associate Dean - George Washington University

Vanessa Gail Perry

Professor and Associate Dean
George Washington University

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Vanessa Gail Perry, MBA, PhD is a Professor and Associate Dean for Faculty and Research at the George Washington University School of Business. Her research is focused on consumers in housing and financial markets, marketplace discrimination, and public policy interventions. Her recent work includes the 2020 State of Homeownership in Black America Report sponsored by the National Association of Real Estate Brokers, and the award-winning article and documentary film “Dog Parks and Coffee Shops: Faux-Diversity and Consumption in Gentrifying Neighborhoods,” co-authored with Sonya Grier.

Professor Perry previously served as a Senior Advisor to the Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and as an expert at the U.S. Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. She also served for several years as a Senior Economist at Freddie Mac, and has been a consultant to numerous public and private sector clients, including the Federal Housing Administration, the Small Business Administration, Bank of America, the National Association of Realtors, and FICO.

Professor Perry has a B.A. in Philosophy from the American University, an MBA from Washington University in St. Louis, and a PhD from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Headshot: Kelly Thompson Cochran, FinRegLab

Kelly Thompson Cochran


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Prior to joining FinRegLab, Kelly helped to stand up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, where she served most recently as the Assistant Director for Regulations. In that capacity, she oversaw rulemaking and guidance activities under the Dodd-Frank Act, Electronic Fund Transfer Act, and various other federal consumer financial laws.

Kelly previously was counsel at WilmerHale, where she advised financial institutions on a wide range of legal and regulatory matters including product development, compliance, enforcement, and litigation. Kelly also conducted research on financial services innovation, community reinvestment, and other topics at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Headshot: Phil Bracken, VantageScore

Phil Bracken


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Phil Bracken is Managing Director of VantageScore Solutions. He has responsibility for the Mortgage Marketplace and Government & Industry Relations with the primary responsibility of advancing VantageScore in the mortgage industry.

He was previously Chief Policy Officer and Head of Government & Industry Relations for Radian Guaranty Mortgage Insurance, the largest private mortgage insurance company in the U.S.

In addition, Mr. Bracken is Chairman and Founder of the America’s Homeowner Alliance – the advocacy and member benefits alliance for the 75 million existing (and aspiring) Homeowners of America.

For the past 13 years, Mr. Bracken has been Co-Chairman of the Consumer / Lender Roundtable in Washington, DC which includes the most influential Consumer Groups and many of the largest Lenders in America. Mr. Bracken helped form the Roundtable 13 years ago with the Consumer Federation of America.

Additionally, Mr. Bracken serves on the Advisory Board of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition and on the Board of Directors of the largest African American owned housing counseling organization in the US – HomeFree USA.

He was formerly Executive Vice President and Head of Government & Industry Relations of Wells Fargo Home Mortgage (WFHM) and prior to that was Managing Director of Prudential Home Mortgage.


Headshot: Dr. Ann B. Schnare, AB Schnare Associates LLC

Dr. Ann B. Schnare

AB Schnare Associates LLC

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Dr. Ann B. Schnare is President of AB Schnare Associates LLC, a consulting firm focusing on the mortgage and housing markets, financial reform, the evaluation of credit risk, and fair lending. Prior to starting her own company, Dr. Schnare was Senior Vice President for Corporate Relations at Freddie Mac and Vice President for Housing and Financial Research. Dr. Schnare also served as Director of Housing and Public Finance at the Urban Institute and managed several large consulting practices. She was Chair of the Center for Housing Policy from 2000 through 2006.

Dr. Schnare holds a PhD in Economics from Harvard University and a BA, summa cum laude, from Washington University in St. Louis. 


Headshot: Barry Wides, Office of the Comptroller of the Currency

Barry Wides

Office of the Comptroller of the Currency

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Barry Wides is the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency's (OCC) Deputy Comptroller for Community Affairs, where he leads a department of community development professionals located in Washington, D.C., and the OCC districts.

The Community Affairs staff is responsible for outreach to banks and their community partners, the development of policy, and the creation and distribution of educational materials on community development issues.

Prior to joining the OCC in 1999, Mr. Wides was Director of Affordable Housing Sales at Freddie Mac, where he led a nationwide sales team responsible for developing products and strategies to achieve the company's congressionally mandated affordable housing goals. He previously served as Deputy Director of the Resolution Trust Corporation's Affordable Housing Program. Mr. Wides began his career in Washington, D.C. as a Presidential Management Intern and Budget Examiner at the Office of Management and Budget.

Mr. Wides is a Certified Public Accountant and holds a bachelor of science in accounting and an MBA from Indiana University.