Del Norte Credit Union Launches ‘Great Credit Race’

Del Norte Credit Union Launches “Great Credit Race”

  • Partners with Filene Research Institute to Investigate Credit Score Genesis and Consumer Finance Education

SANTA FE—Del Norte Credit Union has partnered with Filene Research Institute, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to scientific and thoughtful analysis about issues affecting the future of consumer finance and credit unions, to launch a visionary study to investigate the establishment and trajectory of a credit score—starting from an initial FICO score of zero.

The Great Credit Race will follow the use of a VISA credit card by 20 individuals who have no established FICO score (or a zero score) for six months to ascertain key variables that affect the score’s opening growth.

“The great conundrum is that it’s really hard to get credit if you have no credit score,” explains George Hofheimer, Filene’s Chief Research + Innovation Officer. Since considerable weight is put on revolving credit for credit score determination, the Great Credit Race has made the use of a credit card the crux of the investigation. “Unveiling some of the initial triggers, both positive and negative, on a credit score could be groundbreaking for consumers who struggle with home and car ownership, rental ability, and even job acquisition.”

As part of Filene’s i3 program, Del Norte Credit Union will pilot the study in an effort to crack the code on how credit scores experience an uptick from score inception.

“The Filene study is quite unique in its perspective. We know what types of behaviors raise or lower scores on established credit scores, but it’s really a mystery as to what behaviors actually help build a score from the ground up,” says Denise Wymore, Del Norte’s VP of Member Loyalty.

The study also will provide insights into more effective ways of helping consumers understand money, according to Chuck Valenti, CEO of DNCU. “It’s the role of credit unions to improve our members’ overall financial well-being. Better financial education is critical,” says Valenti.

Participants in the study each receive a VISA credit card with a $500 limit and are only told they must make monthly payments in a timely manner and cannot exceed the set limit. On the last day of each month, the credit union will do a soft pull of the credit score via TransUnion. On the 180th day of the race, the individual with the highest score will be deemed the winner and receive $500.

“The insight gleaned from this study may give consumers a real step up in the credit game, helping them establish habits that will open the doors to better opportunities and lives,” adds Hofheimer.

Find out more about this inspired study at

About Filene Research Institute
Through independent research and innovation, the Filene Research Institute explores issues vital to the future of credit unions and consumer finance. The not-for-profit exist to support research efforts that will ultimately enhance the well-being of consumers and assist credit unions in adapting to rapidly changing economic, legal, and social environments.

About Del Norte Credit Union
Chartered in 1954 as Los Alamos Scientific Lab Credit Union, Del Norte Credit Union is dedicated to helping its members achieve their financial goals by being a trusted source of unbiased financial advice. Today DNCU serves 14 counties in northern New Mexico and more than 40,000 members.

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