Knowing Your Credit Score Is ‘Essential Component Of Financial Well-Being, Says Victory State Bank CEO/President

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Ralph M. Branca is the president and CEO of Victory State Bank, Staten Island, N.Y.'s only community-based commercial bank.

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — Do you know your credit score?

“If you don’t, you should,” advises Ralph M. Branca, CEO and president of Victory State Bank. “Knowing – and comprehending – your credit score is an essential component of financial well-being.”

Based upon information in credit reports, credit scores help lenders judge the stability of an individual’s finances and the ability to repay a loan.

“These scores determine the likelihood of loan approval, as well as the amount of interest you are charged,” explained Branca, who oversees Staten Island, N.Y.’s only community-based commercial bank.

According to the Consumer Federation of America (CFA), credit scores may even determine how big a deposit you may have to pay for telephone or utility services.

When lenders refer to “your score,” they usually are pointing to the FICO® score developed by Fair Isaac Corp.

The higher your number, the better. FICO scores range from 300-850. Most people score in the 600s and 700s.

“Generally, credit scores above 700 indicate a sound financial situation, with substantially less risk than scores falling below 600,” Branca said.

Credit-reporting agencies calculate your score; each score may be different because the credit history each agency has about you may be different, explains CFA. The three major credit-reporting agencies are Equifax (www.equifax.com), Experian (www.experian.com) and TransUnion (www.transunion.com).

HOW THE SCORE IS DETERMINED

In general, information affecting your FICO score includes:

(1)  Your payment history (approximately 35 percent of a score)

(2)  How much you owe (approximately 30 percent of a score)

(3)  Length of your credit history (approximately 15 percent of a score)

(4)  New credit (approximately 10 percent of a score)

(5)  Other factors (about 10 percent of a score)

Consumers may obtain one free credit report per year from each credit-reporting agency by logging onto the Annual Credit Report Request Service at  www.annualcreditreport.com.

For more information about the loan process, call Victory State Bank at 718-979-1100, or visit any one of the bank’s five full-service locations on Staten Island.

About Victory State Bank

VSB Bancorp Inc. is the one-bank holding company for Victory State Bank. Victory State Bank, a Staten Island-based commercial bank, commenced operations on Nov. 17, 1997.  The Bank’s initial capitalization of $7 million was primarily raised within the Staten Island community. The Bancorp’s total equity has increased to $26 million, primarily through the retention of earnings.  Victory State operates five full-service locations on Staten Island: The main office in Great Kills, and branches in the communities of West Brighton, St. George, Dongan Hills and Rosebank.

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