The chairman and CEO of Atlanta-based credit bureau Equifax Inc., which has reported higher third-quarter revenues and earnings, discussed the economy, the mortgage market and the controversial VantageScore product during a conference call Thursday with investors and analysts.
“We are continuing to see some softening in the U.S. economy. It is impacting a number of our customers,” said Richard F. Smith. “As a result, we anticipate revenue growth for the year to be within 7% to 10% but at the lower end of that range.”
Revenue from Equifax’s mortgage reporting services unit fell 24% to $17 million in the quarter, vs. the same 2005 quarter.
“We have all read the trends for the quarter. The Mortgage Bankers Association’s market composite index said volume was down some 26%,” Smith said. One large customer, AmeriQuest, represented nine points of Equifax’s revenue decline for the unit.
In response to an analyst’s question, Smith said that the interest from large, medium and small customers in VantageScore “has been overwhelmingly positive. We have a number of customers validating” the product. “I would expect decisions, hence revenue, to start kicking in for VantageScore in 2007.”
No mention was made about the anti-trust lawsuit against VantageScore – created by Equifax, TransUnion and Experian – filed a week ago by Fair Isaac Corp., creator of the FICO score, a competing product.