SolarCity CEO: Credit score requirement won't be cut for years

Thu Nov 19, 2015 4:51pm EST
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(Please note that the eighth paragraph contains language that some readers may find offensive)

(Reuters) - SolarCity Corp SCTY.O has no imminent plans to lower the credit score requirement for customers who lease their solar panel systems, and likely will not do so for a few years, its chief executive said on Thursday.

The comments from CEO Lyndon Rive followed a Nov. 11 news report in which he was quoted saying he wanted to lower the FICO score requirement for customers to below 650. The company's stock fell 4 percent the day after the report.

FICO scores range from 300 to 850, and are a measure used by lenders to determine how likely a consumer is to repay a loan. FICO scores of 680 or higher are considered either good or excellent. Scores of 620 to 680 are considered "acceptable," while scores of 550 to 620 are considered "subprime."

"There is a massive market with 650 and above," Rive said in an interview with Reuters. "There is no immediate plan to reduce the FICO score. It probably won't happen in the next few years."

The Bloomberg news report indicated that a drop in SolarCity's FICO score requirement could come in less than a year.

SolarCity said last month that it would slow its growth targets next year to focus on cost cutting and becoming cash flow positive. But that does not mean the company wants to reduce its FICO requirements to fuel growth, Rive said.

"The idea that I want to reduce the FICO score because I'm desperate for demand is just a bunch of bullshit," he said.

SolarCity's FICO score requirement gradually dropped from 720 in 2008 to 650 in 2013.   Continued...

Lyndon Rive, SolarCity co-founder and CEO, attends SolarCity's Inside Energy Summit in Manhattan, New York October 2, 2015. REUTERS/Rashid Umar Abbasi