To evaluate Fresh Start’s effectiveness, our study examined who uses the Fresh Start loan and their financial outcomes, with an emphasis on credit score changes. Among our key findings: 70% of borrowers increased their credit score after taking out a Fresh Start loan. The greatest and most meaningful increases came from borrowers with starting scores below 640, those who started out unscored, and younger borrowers. Nearly a third (32%) of borrowers increased their credit score by enough to qualify for a lower rate on an auto loan at Self-Help. These borrowers would save, on average, $3,211 in interest over the life of a typical auto loan as a result. Borrowers who were unscored were able to build an average score of 643, which is at the low end of the “average” credit category. For borrowers who improved their existing score, the average gain was 47 points. However, most borrowers (71%) with high initial credit scores (750 and above) experienced a decline in credit score. For all findings and more details, see our complete report and/or our press release. Self-Help Credit Union offers a similar credit-building product—find out more here. According to FICO, a leading consumer analytics company, 90% of all lending decisions in the US rely on a FICO score (fico.com). These are the elements of that score.