Proponents say it motivates people to pay rent on time and, therefore, improve their credit

    A University of Minnesota Crookston alum has been working with Tri-Valley Opportunity Council, Inc. on bringing his company’s rent reporting program to the area which could help people improve their credit.         

    During Tuesday’s Crookston Housing & Economic Development Authority board meeting at RiverView Health, Tri-Valley Executive Director Jason Carlson gave a brief overview of Esusu Financial Inc.’s rent reporting concept saying it’s a way to help motivate people to pay their rent and help build credit at the same time.

    Esusu was co-founded by UMC alum Wemimo Abbey, who is also the founder of Clean Water for Everyone, an African social venture providing access to clean water for over 100,000 people in six countries. Esusu has recently expanded to offer rent reporting for people “confident” in their abilities to make on-time rental payments for the foreseeable future as Esusu reports on both on-time and missed payments.

    Participating landlords or property managers work with Esusu to provide information on their renter’s payments and Esusu reports that information to credit bureaus. They can report up to two years or 24 months of past rental payment history as long as the renter was on the same lease they are currently on. Esusu says it takes typically two to four weeks before a tenant’s reported rent payments will appear on their credit report.

    “It’s impossible to promise or predict a certain score increase because every person has a unique credit risk profile, and multiple factors impact a person’s score, but people who verify two years of rental history and who already have established credit could potentially see an increase of 25-50 points if their rental history does not contain any late payments,” says Esusu’s website, www.esusurent.com.

    Carlson said the concept was brought to him by Michelle Christopherson, UMC Director of Outreach and Community Engagement, and he then set up a meeting with Abbey and Tri-Valley’s Community Services Program Director Maureen Hams.

    “It’s amazing the passion they (Esusu) have for this project,” Carlson boasted. “They left corporate jobs to do this.”

    Carlson said he’d like to work with CHEDA’s Executive Director Craig Hoiseth and staff to see if this is a fit for Crookston. UMN Crookston Chancellor Mary Holz-Clause added that they are piloting the program on the Crookston campus, as well as in New York, and UMC students are learning about financial literacy and how to figure out their resident payments.