Meet Our New Credit Expert, John Ulzheimer

Day 1 – Hello, my name is John Ulzheimer and I am a credit junkie.  I’m also the new President of Consumer Education for SmartCredit.com.  The purpose of this blog is to introduce myself, give you a little bit about my background and share with you what you’ll be seeing from me in the months to come.

I’ve been a part of the credit industry since 1991 when I took a job with Equifax, one of the major credit reporting agencies, out of college.  I was there until the end of 1997 when I left to take a job with Fair, Isaac and Company.  They eventually changed their name to Fair Isaac Corporation and then finally to plain old FICO.

You surely recognize them for their well-known and widely used FICO® credit scoring system.  I left FICO at the end of 2004 and in 2005 I started doing work for Credit.com, where I eventually served as their President of Consumer Education.  I also started doing expert witness work in 2005, which I still do today.

The one thing that all three companies have in common is their involvement, one way or the other, with the consumer credit environment.  Equifax compiles and sells credit reports.  FICO designs and develops credit-scoring systems.  And, Credit.com gives consumers access to credit related products and services.

And as of today, December 8, I add SmartCredit.com to my resume and I’m thrilled to be here.  My role as President of Consumer Education means my job is to teach you everything you need to know to fully leverage, and benefit from, our credit system.  I don’t take this task lightly and what you’ll quickly learn when reading my work is I take great care to provide consumers with hyperaccurate information about the topic.  You’ll also quickly learn that I’m not a guy who knows what I know because someone else told me some stuff about credit.

I am FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) certified and have authored or created numerous educational materials on the subject including:

  • You’re Nothing but a Number, Why achieving great credit scores should be on your list of wealth building strategies.
  • The consumer handbook, Surviving Identity Theft. (co-authored)
  • The white paper, Common Mistakes Made by Ineffective Credit Expert Witnesses.
  • The article, Top 12 Ways to Survive a Deposition

What did I do at Equifax? I learned about credit reports and managed the consumer dispute process, which included conducting consumer interviews, logging consumer disputes, communicating with credit data furnishers, modifying credit reports and communicating dispute resolution results to consumers.

I eventually managed the relationship between Equifax and thousands of small customers, such as credit unions, car dealerships, banks, and collection agencies.  My final role with the company was to manage the relationship with Barnett Bank, which was eventually acquired by Nations Bank and then Bank of America.

I left in 1997 to take a job with Fair Isaac and that’s where it got really fun.  In 1997 the mortgage industry was essentially force fed FICO scoring by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and they weren’t happy about it.  My role was to support all of Fair Isaac’s credit bureau based scores in North American (Equifax, Equifax Canada, TransUnion, TransUnion Canada, and Experian.)  In other words, if FICO built it and it was sold by a North American credit bureau, I supported it.

I became well versed in all things having to do with credit scores including credit score validations, credit score implementation and credit score development.  I have performed hundreds of credit score trainings to audiences of all levels of sophistication including lenders, insurance companies, credit bureaus, politicians, media, consumer groups and consumers.  If someone had a question about credit scoring between 1997 and 2004, the answer likely came out of my group.

I was also one of the few employees allowed to speak to the media on the company’s behalf, which is where my media exposure really started.  I always joke with people that 10 years ago nobody cared about what I had to say and today everyone cares.  Here is a sampling of my media hits since 2007. http://johnulzheimer.com/media.asp

I frequently appear on FOX, CNN, local network television, and NPR.  I’ve contributed content for CNBC’s “On The Money”, Freddie Mac’s “Know Your Score” campaign, Oprah’s “Debt Diet” series and The Suze Orman Show.  I am a weekly guest on FOX Business Network’s The Willis Report every Thursday for a segment called “Covering Your Assets” and I write a weekly article for Mint.com.

I teach a course, when offered, on credit reporting and scoring at The Emory University Center for Lifelong Learning.  I am also a regular guest lecturer at The Westminster Schools, The Walker School (both in Atlanta, GA) and The University of Georgia located in Athens, GA.  And finally I volunteer my time and teach credit basics to members of the Georgia Consortium for Personal Financial Literacy.

So what will you learn from me in the coming months?  It’s simple, you’ll learn about credit reports, credit scores, credit law, debt, collections, settlement, scams, and much more.  And this won’t be just about me telling you what I think you should know.  This will be a two way street, meaning I’ll write about what you think is important as well.  How will I know what you want to learn?  It’s simple, I want you to always feel free to ask a question or suggest a topic by sending me an email to John@Smartcredit.com.

Happy learning!!