Our program helps people build strong credit scores and leverage those scores to reach their financial goals. As a direct service and research organization, we are committed to using the data we capture to understand how the financial—and other—circumstances of participants in our program change over time. Using these data, we have designed, implemented, tested, and refined our program over the years, and documented that it yields tangible outcomes.
We get results.
In 2023, Working Credit worked with 48 employer and other systems-level partners (including ComEd, Cook County’s Guaranteed Income Promise Pilot, Morgan State University, the New York City Housing Authority, Tyson Foods, Tzedek DC, the Boston Mayor’s Office of Returning Citizens, the Pine Bluff Chamber of Commerce, and many more) to impact the lives of over 3000 people through workshops and counseling.
Of those counseled (n=2430):
–56% who started our program without a credit score established an average near prime score
–59% who started our program with a credit score increased their scores by an average of 42 points
–the share with a prime score increased by 9 percentage points, from 21% to 30%
–the share with $1000 in available credit to increased by 3 percentage points, from 34% to 37%
–15 households purchased homes
Our focus on Prime scores and $1000 in available credit.
Within 12 months, we see consistent gains in the two primary (among many other) credit profile metrics we track as proxies for financial resilience:
–The percentage-point increase in the number of participants moving to prime credit scores. We value all score increases, but it people with a prime score are able to access low interest rates on loans and credit cards, obtain good quality rental housing, save money on insurance products like car and renter’s insurance, and have security deposits on rental housing and utilities waived or returned.
–The percentage-point increase in the number of participants who establish a the financial cushion of at least $1000 in available credit on one or more credit cards. We value emergency savings, but when the cost of an emergency-like an eviction or car breakdown-exceeds a person’s savings, they have to be able to make up the difference without having to borrow cash from high-priced predatory lenders. Having at least $1,000 in available credit gives people the necessary cushion to manage the inevitable and unexpected economic shocks that come.
Beyond the numbers.
The metrics above speak to the quantifiable impact we make. However, when we attempt to quantify our impact holistically, it gets a little tricky. We know through speaking with our participants, that our work also impacts individuals, families, and communities in ways that exist beyond the percentage point increases. As participants acquire a comprehensive understanding of the credit system, receive personalized, trauma-informed support from our expert credit building counselors, and witness tangible improvements in their credit health and the associated advantages, a shift occurs. Interviews with participants reveal that many express a renewed sense of self-worth and expanded life possibilities. Through our program, participants improve their credit, but equally importantly, gain a sense of economic power and autonomy to overcome limitations imposed by structural barriers, particularly systemic racism, opening doors to a brighter future for themselves, their families, and their communities.