The Small Business Administration's decision to use Fair, Isaac & Co.'s credit-scoring software to process low-documentation loan applications has at least one competing supplier very upset.
TRW Business Credit Services, of Orange, Calif., which also tried to win the $110,000 federal contract, has sent letters to the SBA and the American Banker complaining about the process by which Fair, Isaac was selected.
"The SBA ... did not permit TRW to demonstrate the capabilities of its credit-scoring system for use in connection with the low-doc program. TRW never even got an 'at bat,'" wrote Donald E. Lavoie, a TRW vice president and general manager.
"As one of the leading providers of high-quality credit information products and services, including credit-scoring services designed specifically for small-business accounts, we would welcome the chance to participate in a full and open competition to serve the SBA. We also believe the agency and taxpayers would have much to gain if the agency's credit-scoring procurement were opened to a fair competition," the letter continued.
However, the SBA said TRW did get a chance to show off its wares, but did not have a product that the federal agency wanted to buy.
"We met with TRW on several occasions," said Mike Stamler, an SBA spokesman. "We understand their product and what they were proposing, but it just wasn't the product we were looking for. As for the letter, we appreciate and understand they are disappointed in not getting the contract and we will be communicating with TRW directly in response to their letter."
But TRW's Mr. Lavoie said he did not consider the meetings between the SBA and his company a real evaluation. "A conversation is quite a stretch from an evaluation," he said. "There's obviously a difference of opinion and understanding on this."
In June, the SBA said it had chosen Fair, Isaac's software as a time- saving device for reviewing applications in its popular low-doc loan program.
Besides TRW and Fair, Isaac, Dun & Bradstreet and CCN Group's MDS division systems were also considered.