Sep 20, 2023

NGPF Podcast: Mastering Your Credit Score: Insights from Credit Guru Anthony Davenport

Anthony Davenport, a credit expert and founder of Regal Credit Management, shares his insights on credit repair, mortgages, and more. Listen to this week’s podcast to learn how to build and maintain strong credit scores and how to leverage credit to achieve financial freedom.




Ren Makino: Hi, this is Ren from Next Gen Personal Finance. And you're listening to the NGPF podcast today on the show tim is joined by Anthony Davenport, President and CEO of Regal Credit Management, an agency with a mission to provide credit management and business education to those who need it most. Anthony joins us on the show to talk about building credit, own experiences from the 2007-2008 financial crisis, as well as the obstacles he had to face throughout his journey, Listen to this discussion to get invaluable insight into the process of building up your credit score. Enjoy!

Tim Ranzetta: All right. So much energy. I'm really excited. Anthony, as I was doing some research, I'm like this conversation can go to about a million different directions, but we'll try and just keep it to five or six.

Let's start with the money lessons you learned growing up. Like what sticks with you today in terms of maybe your early experiences with money, maybe a little bit about your first job. Just, yeah. What, how were you taught about money? 

[00:00:57] Anthony's Early Money Lessons.

Anthony Davenport: I wasn't. Next question. No, no. So really my parents just said.

Don't be like us over and over and over again. And I didn't really know what that meant, what that was about, but they didn't really learn money from their parents. So particularly in, you know, in minority communities, often we are the first generation to get some real opportunities. And then you were trying to figure out things from, from scratch, so to speak.

So my parents were both born in poverty. My dad is one of 12 kids. My mom is one of 10. They lived in Michigan and Montana, respectively to, you know, blue collar families. So they didn't know anything about money. And then my dad became very successful. He was actually the assistant secretary for the department of education at one point, was working for a lot of different administrations and whatnot, advising presidents, I think four different presidents he advised on different things, but still like learned about money as they went through it.

So they didn't give me information other than don't be like us, but they put me in places and opportunities so that I could learn about it. But that still didn't help me from going bankrupt. 

Tim Ranzetta: So you talk a little bit about before we get to the bankruptcy, talk a little bit about, yeah, those opportunities that they did give you or that you took advantage of.

Anthony Davenport: So it starts with my grandparents and with many people it does. Especially if you're, you know, from a black and brown community. So, my grandparents basically had enough. They were tired of being second class citizens in this country. And, you know, often we refer to the greatest generation of Americans as the group that fought in World War II.

I agree with that, but for different reasons. And I think that the Civil Rights Movement Came entirely from my grandparents generation because they went and they fought too. And they came back and found that they were still getting called the N word. We're still discriminated against. So they pushed my parents to pursue any opportunity that they could to get ahead out of my, you know, 20 aunts and uncles.

Almost all of them have college degrees. Many of them have advanced degrees. Master's degrees. My dad has a doctorate some lawyers. So it's something that sink in because that generation said, that's enough. We're going to get ahead and we're going to get our kids the opportunities. So those kids pursued that.

And then what my parents, they kept saying, whatever opportunities you can get, we're going to do that. So they scrapped and scraved and saved money. And they put me into a Christian private school growing up. They made sure that we lived in a nice neighborhood with a good school. So I grew up a lot in the suburbs.

Where, you know, a lot of other, my cousins and things like that. Some of them grew up in the suburbs and went to good schools. Some of them were in the urban cities and didn't necessarily get those opportunities. So by going to those good schools, I got to meet really great people. I had great teachers.

I had a great education and then I got to go to college at a great school. And then after that, my dad helped me by saying, Hey, I've met some people that work at really good places and you should do internships with them. So they pursued. Or help me pursue those opportunities through internships that many black and brown people don't get.

Tim Ranzetta: Such an important point there. I mean, the network, right? That's how most internships, I was out for lunch with a friend yesterday. And as we're walking away, they're like, Hey, I got a high schooler. What do you think? Is there an internship opportunity? You realize how many of those rely on that network and the good fortune of having your parents connected to people in industry where those early internships and in business with banks.

Anthony Davenport: They were with consulting firms. So I don't know if you remember Arthur Anderson, but they were a consulting company and then they got involved in the whole shredding thing. I wasn't there then. I was there before that, but... 

Tim Ranzetta: They're back again, the brand. Well, they're back as a tax consultant or they're back with on the tax side.

But yeah, I think they've rebranded their consulting business. Yeah. They were. They were caught up in the Enron scandal. 

Anthony Davenport: Yeah, yeah, so I started my internship world there. Before that, you know, I was working at a movie theater. I worked at Hershey Park in the amusement park in Hershey, Pennsylvania. And then I was like, I need a desk job because working on this heat is not where it's at.

So my dad was like, here, talk to this man, maybe he can help you. So yeah, I started in that consulting world. And then I got a job at the New York times. Through my dad's connections as well. And then I started building out my own network. 

Tim Ranzetta: Sure. What'd you do with the first paycheck you ever earned?

Anthony Davenport: I was 15 when I first started working at a movie theater. So I spent that first 15 on a CD. 

Tim Ranzetta: You're not going to tell us which one? 

Anthony Davenport: Oh, I'll tell you. I'll tell you. It was Sir Mix-a-Lot because I was really big into him back then. You know, but the posse's on Broadway. I had an old car. My friends called the hoopty just like his.

So, you know, it wasn't bad. And I spent a lot of my money on CDs. I spent a lot of money on car stereo equipment, making my car go boom. I was 16 at the time, you know, that was important. 

Tim Ranzetta: That makes sense. That makes sense. Did you, what'd you study in college? Were you business, business major in college?

Anthony Davenport: No. Although as I took business classes, I said, I really want this to be my major. My major was public relations but in order to do business, they said you would have to stay longer. I went to school at Washington State, which is in the middle of the wheat fields near Idaho. Yeah. So I basically was like, look, let me just get out of here as fast as I can.

This is, this is not a great place for a brother to be out in the middle of the wheat field. So let me graduate. And then, you know, I'll figure out how to get in the business later. 

Tim Ranzetta: All right. So, yeah, 

I want to talk a little bit, cause I think this really informed the direction you ended up going into where you are now, which is you had some experience, some of the larger, you know, the big banks in their loan departments, tell us about that experience.

[00:07:38] Anthony's Experience In Big Banks' Loan Departments.

Anthony Davenport: You're going to make me talk about my past. I don't like to talk about my past. I'm, I'm not, come on, Tim. I'm, I'm atoning for my sins as a banker. I'm a reformed banker. You know, I don't do those loans anymore. I'm on the other side. So I started working at bank of America and Wells Fargo. And then I was working at some smaller mortgage brokerage shops for about 10 years.

I really liked helping people and solving problems. You know, people would say, Hey, I want to buy a house. Can you help me figure out how to do that? And there was a lot of joy in that. You know, people at a closing table and they're buying a house. They're thrilled. They're happy.

That was great until it wasn't. 

Tim Ranzetta: Yeah. What was the timeframe you were working? What was the decade? Did it include 2008? 

Anthony Davenport: Yeah, that's kind of what led to the whole bankruptcy thing. So I started in 2000. I was a dot commer at the time and that world crashed. And then I jumped it in the mortgage world and said, this would be good and safe banking.

It's always going to be good. 

Tim Ranzetta: Did you see what was going on? I mean, did you see as time went on, the quality of these loans go down in terms of, you know, the no doc and the. Was that clear to you? Kind of like, Hey, this seems to be an engine here. That's there's a lot less discipline in terms of how we're providing these loans.

There's a lot of pressure. I mean, my guess is folks on the front line are feeling the pressure to produce. Like we got... 

Anthony Davenport: The word you're looking for is greed. And yes, I did. I'll never forget the day I was sitting, you know, in a mandatory meeting with my boss at Wells Fargo, and they said, we have this new loan program.

And it's called fast and easy. And I was like, I don't think a loan should exactly be fast and easy. You know, you got to do a little bit of work into it. And they said, all right, if the person puts 10 percent down and they have a 700 score or higher, we don't need to verify anything. No income, no assets.

Nothing. They just show up at the closing table and if they got the money, that's it. And I was like, I don't know about that boss. And I was like, maybe I should start thinking about something else because if Wells Fargo is doing this, that means everybody else has already been doing it and they were already doing it.

And I didn't realize when you're that close into it and it's not like I didn't do subprime loans. I hated subprime loans because they had horrible terms for people. I couldn't consciously put someone into a loan that said, you know, you're going to have a huge prepayment penalty. Your interest rates, super high.

We're not going to verify your income or assets. And they didn't have the ability to pay. I just couldn't do that. So I didn't see , the Supreme crisis unfolding the way it did. I just said something, this doesn't sound right. They must be given mortgages out to too many people. And they were. 

Tim Ranzetta: Now you alluded to something earlier about a bankruptcy.

[00:10:42] Anthony's Bankruptcy.

Anthony Davenport: Yeah. They're not much fun. I don't recommend doing it. If you were thinking about like something as a good time to try it out, but it was The best thing that ever happened to my professional life. So what happened is , the mortgage world was good. There was a lot of money to be had. I was living in Seattle you know, for a few years before 2008, I was making so much money that I drove a convertible Jag all around Seattle.

And if you've ever been to Seattle, you'll know it's a land of rain. You don't need a convertible there. But I had that much money that I said, I don't need this to make sense. I got enough money. That's good. So, but I was saving a lot of money too, because I, you know, I was the type of kid that as soon as I graduated college, I started reading all these financial magazines, retirement.

I literally subscribed to like five of them and I would cut out different articles and put them in a book that were good on retirement or investing or real estate. So what ended up happening is all of a sudden, it's like you were playing musical chairs and you didn't realize it. The music stopped and all of a sudden.

They were like, there's no more banks. The banks are dropping like flies. There's no more loans. No one wants to buy. So almost overnight, I went from making a lot of money to making no money at all. And that lasted for more than a year. And I had savings to last me for more than a year and excellent FICO score.

I was the type of person that I had never carried a credit card balance over from one month to the next ever in my life. Until I got to the point where I literally, I needed to do it in order to be able to pay my mortgage. So, one day when my wife was eight months pregnant with our first son, I had to go to her, our very nice high rise condo in Brooklyn, and say Honey, I met with this attorney.

We have no choice but to file bankruptcy. And the sound she made was something that will always stick with me forever. It was horrible. And you know, after much tears and whatnot, we packed up and we moved into a roach and mouse infested apartment. Down the street where we would constantly walk by our old luxury apartment and say, like, Oh, remember those days?

And I remember my mother in law came to visit a few weeks after that, as we were, like, packing up. And as mother in laws do, she said, What's your plan? What are you going to do? How are you going to provide for your family? And I said, You know what I'm going to do? I'm going to create a business that's going to help people get through this very situation because I'm in the front lines.

But this is literally going to impact almost everyone, you know, this is going to be massive and it ended up being the greatest recession since the Great Depression, I wasn't a genius. I literally had just been smacked in the face and said, Oh, there's more punches to be coming. So you guys may want to duck.

So what I did is I documented the whole process that I took to rebuild my credit to remove what payments I could to start establishing credit. So because the first thing that my wife asked for after we had a kid was, Hey, I really don't want to have to haul brand new baby around the subway. I want a car.

So I said, all right, I gotta get my credit good enough to get a car. And I did. 

Tim Ranzetta: Wow. I just wanna say thank you, Anthony, for sharing that story. 'cause that's probably not an easy one to relive. But it's the old adage, one door closes, another opens, but what got you off the mat? I mean, the situation you just explained with a child on the way and, having lived very well and then having to face this, I mean, you talk about challenge.

Was there a friend? Was there faith, motivation? Like, what... 

Anthony Davenport: Do you know? Johnny Walker, my friend, no, actually, I'll tell you what it was, was when you tasted defeat and Absolute the bottom when people say they started at the bottom, I was like, no, no, no, I was there.

I didn't see you. You were up there a little bit. A couple floors up. I was at the bottom, like having to sit in front of a trustee for bankruptcy. My wife was holding our newborn in her arms saying like, well, you see, this is what happened and having to justify everything and then put our net worth down on a spreadsheet, which I just showed my kids recently.

So this is how much money I was worth or how much I wasn't worth at this time before you were born. You know, and I'll tell you what really got me through is the fact that you go through that experience. And I vowed that I would not ever go back to that low. And I wouldn't have to look at my wife in the eyes and say, this didn't work out.

We lost. So I put everything I could into my business. I didn't have money. And I didn't really have connections, which is not really the best way to start a business. I don't recommend that either, you know, don't go through bankruptcy. If you're thinking it's a good time, don't start a business.

If you don't have any money or connections, cause it's not as much fun as you think. And I literally worked around the clock. At one point I said to my wife. I think it's going to start catching on, but I literally can't be a husband or a father right now. I need to move into the office and sleep there for at least a few weeks at a time.

And I said, why don't you go home and visit your parents? With the kid, well with the kid and then eventually the kids and I will literally live here. So I had a blow up air mattress. Eventually I upgraded to a pillow top air mattress because I was spending so much time there. That's when I was, the money was really coming in.

And I had a shower at the office and I would keep all of my suits and everything like that hanging in that shower. And I would just, you know, freshen up and the first employee in the morning, her job was to come in and kick the air mattress and she would hand me a five hour energy shot and the strongest cup of coffee that Costco made.

I would have two of those. And that was my day beginning. So yeah, that's what got me through. It was like, I will not lose again. I will not fail. And we faced. Oh my God. An insane number of challenges as many business owners do, but ours were like, I could write a book on that just about the time where it's like, Oh my God, we're going to go out of business tomorrow unless a miracle happens.

And then it'd be like, Oh, miracle just happened. I mean, we went through that probably should have bought a lottery ticket. Cause I mean, we were just insanely lucky, insanely lucky that we made it through those times. And we never had any money, you know, the first five, six. Plus years. I mean, not a dime.

Oh, and we faced at one point we couldn't pay our office rent. And we couldn't pay our home rent. We had gone more than six months on both at the same time, because I used the money instead to pay my employees. And I was, I owed tons of money on taxes too. So but I did everything to keep the business going and to keep the employees paid.

And yeah, we were able to keep our, our home because they had a really bad lawyer on the other side. But we were kicked out of our office and then we had to work from my home for a few months or so.

Tim Ranzetta: Wow. So yeah, talk a little bit about the business and how the model kind of changed over time. Right. Cause I think entrepreneurs start with a vision and oftentimes the vision, you know, it's kind of like. Everybody's got a plan until someone punches you in the face. Mike Tyson, right. Everybody's got a business plan until they actually start running the business and hiring employees.

 What were the services you were providing kind of, that was bringing in revenue and how did that change over time? 

[00:19:18] What Services Was Anthony's Business Providing?

Anthony Davenport: Yeah, that's a really great question. I don't get, I don't get asked that often and I love answering it. So we started off doing credit repair, you know, helping people remove late payments, blemishes.

Tax liens and things like that. And I remember this one client came to us and said, I'm really upset. I want my money back. And I looked in her file and said, we deleted a hundred percent of the negatives on your credit report. Like we crushed it. Like you don't do better than a hundred percent. And then she said, no, but I came to you because I wanted to get a mortgage.

And when they ran my credit, they said, no, I don't have a score or before I had a score. So it made me realize that. You have to think about what business you're really in. And it's a pretty simple question, but what business are you in? I thought I was in the credit repair business. No, I was in the credit management business.

So I turned around to my, my staff and said, you know, this woman's right. I'm not going to give her her money back because I don't have it, but we need to develop a product to establish credit for people, because if they come to us and say, my goal is to buy a home, that's what we're going to get judged by whether they get the home or not, not whether their score goes up 50 points, a hundred points, 200 points, not whether we delete 30, 50, 70, a hundred percent of negative items, do they get the home?

So you have to take on a file only if you're going to achieve that goal. And we had to develop a new service in order to do that. Then a few years later, there was a very high profile identity theft that happened. And you might remember this is back in like 2013, where they took, no, this is before that one.

That one was great too. That was fun. I love that one. But no, in 2013, they basically got ahold of. Like the entire Obama presidential cabinet's credit files and they started sharing them and it also happened to a whole bunch of celebrities at the time. There was this orange guy Donald Trump or something like that, that was part of it.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, an Austrian guy that was part of it. Jay Z, Kanye, all them, like they were all part of it, but also like literally Michelle Obama Joe Biden. Hillary Clinton, all these people have their credit reports exposed and this is a true story. So what happened is one of the business managers for one of these entertainers who was compromised and it said, Anthony, we're getting pulled into this and there's conference calls with the white house and the FBI secret service heads of legal and security for the credit bureaus.

They don't know what is going on and they're telling us like things that we could do and we don't understand it. Will you jump on? And I said, yeah, sure. So I jumped on and the first question I asked is, you know, Hey, I've been following , this news closely. And I see all these people are listed out, but there's one person I'm not seeing Barack Obama, what's up with that?

And they said, Oh, that's because his credit's blocked. So I pulled out a pad and the pen and I said, tell me how to do this. And that was the origin of my service. That I named credit block because I'm not very creative at all when it comes to names. So, so yeah, that's sort of the credit block service because again, people were coming to us saying, Hey, my identity is getting stolen.

And I'm like, Oh, well, I can repair your credit after that. And they're like, no, that's not what I need. I need, to prevent this from happening. And then I looked around and said, Oh, there's no companies that actually do that. That lifelock, you know, with all the great ads, they don't actually prevent that.

So I then became the first company to prevent that. 

Tim Ranzetta: How's that different from the services that the credit bureaus provide where you can, I don't know whether they call it a block or it just prevents anybody from opening an account in your name. 

Anthony Davenport: So the credit bureaus sell what's called credit monitoring, which is really garbage.

Really what they're in the business of is collecting your information and selling it. That's what they're in the business of doing. So credit monitoring by design, the main thrust of what they sell to consumers only notifies you about theft after it happens, doesn't actually prevent it. One good thing about the last administration is after the Equifax act in 2017, they said, well, consumers need to be able to.

Freeze their credit for free. And so they said, you know, before that you'd have to pay per bureau and it depends on the state you lived in as to how much the cost. So the security freeze is the best thing that you could do. But the problem is you literally can't go to each credit bureau or like you can't go to TransUnion and say, lock my file with the other two.

They won't do that. You have to go to each one independently. Each one has their own process, their own systems, and we counted it up. It's 23 steps to do. If you are pretty savvy and you can, you're pretty smart, you can do it fairly fast, but most people, it takes them a while to do it's intentionally difficult because they don't want it because when your credit frozen, they can't sell your data as easily.

It's not worth much. So that's, 

Tim Ranzetta: Then there's another whole set of steps you have to do to unfreeze it, right? If you're going to purchase something on credit, you're going to want to open a new credit card. You know, and I've tried this cause I have credit freezes, like which bureau or which credit bureau are you going to be going to?

And it's like, well, we don't really know, or we might, we'd use all three. And then you're like, Oh, I have to go through this process with all three again. So, 

Anthony Davenport: Hey, I know a company that's working on making it so that you can literally pick up your phone, press a button and say, lock and unlock with all three bureaus and its name is.

Regal. That one. Regal. All right. Coming, coming later this year. 

Tim Ranzetta: Yeah, that would be a real, that would be a real time savings. Okay. So you are one. 

Anthony Davenport: There's my unabashed, you know, pitch. Hey, I got kids to put through college, man. So, you know, I gotta tell you like it is. 

Tim Ranzetta: So, you know, the audience here are educators, you know, middle high school, college level, and, you know, probably one of the most frequent questions they get from young people is how can I start to establish credit?

So I can't think of anybody better to answer that question than you. 

[00:25:53] How Can Young People Start to Establish Credit?

Anthony Davenport: Well, first of all, let me say you all are saints. Thank you for your service. I'm sorry if any of my old teachers are on here because man, I was a horrible student. I didn't like cause a lot of disruption, a little bit, but I never liked to do homework.

And my dad, you know, has been a lifelong educator working for school districts and universities and all that. So I have tremendous respect for you. My dad actually was part of the Reagan and Bush administrations and the department of education. There used to be such a thing as black Republicans or there's not anymore.

There's Kanye. We got Kanye. Sorry. I know that's not that kind of podcast, but anyhow, so the best way to establish credit when you're young is you find your parents or if you're a parent and you want to establish it for your kids, they have to be at least 18. There is what's called an authorized user program.

What that program does is if you have one of like, there's like four or five different credit cards you'd have to call them and ask, but it's like Capital One, Wells Fargo, Discover, you can add someone as an authorized user to your credit card, and then they will magically have the same history.

True story. When I went to college, my parents gave me an American Express card and they said, you need to use this only when there's an emergency. And that emergency often was, it's two in the morning. I need pizza. Or I distinctly remember the first time I pulled it out. I was at the mall in Moscow, Idaho.

Cause yeah, we had to go all the way to Idaho to get to an actual mall. And the new Fuji's album came out and I was like, an emergency Lauren Hill is needs me to listen to this. So I use that card, but the whole point of that card is my parents. Open that credit card three years before I was born. And if you looked at my credit report at that time, it looked like I came into this world with great credit.

Like I was born and I was like, here. Put this on my credit card, the hospital bill, and I'll pay it, you know, that's the way it works with authorized users, but only with four or five different companies. You have to call and find out that's the single most powerful thing you could do for your kids is to get them added to.

It doesn't have to be yours. If you say, hey, I don't have any cards that qualify. Could be at neighbors, could be friends, could be aunt, could be uncle. I hear this guy Tim has excellent credit that would love to, you know, lend to some people. I got his credit card number right here. But if you get added to a couple of those accounts, you're, you're, you're in great shape.

But there's a caveat. Again, you have to make sure that they report to the credit bureaus by calling them. The other thing is you have to make sure there's no late payments. You have to make sure there's no credit card balances that are above like really about 10 to 15%. Then there's another thing you can do, which is open up what's called a secured credit card.

So a secured credit card, and again, there's only a couple that will report the history to the credit bureaus, credit card. Is one where you put down a deposit of, let's say, 200 and then your limits 200 as long as you don't have, you know, I mean, even if your credit is bad, they'll take it because basically it's cash.

They're just making money on it. So that's a great way. I mean, after I went bankrupt, literally, the minute they told me that it was discharged, I opened up to secured credit cards. 

Tim Ranzetta: People understand how they work. You've got to put a deposit down, right? So you actually have to put a deposit. You got to front the money.

So it might be a 300 limit. You've got to front 300. And then they use that as an effect security against if you don't make your monthly payment. 

Anthony Davenport: Yeah, that's exactly right. So, I mean, they, they have, they, they're not going to lose because they already have the money. So those two things are great.

Those are the best ways to build credit. You can put down as little as 50 bucks on some of these secured cards to get it started. The authorized users is even more powerful. If you can do that there are there are celebrities that pay us to build up their credit because like they just got drafted by, you know the L.

  1. Lakers and they may be 70 tall and famous and have millions in the bank. But if they've never had a job before, they don't have any credit. They have trouble getting car loans, renting apartments. It's like insane getting insurance. So they come to us and we build up their credit. And one of the things we do is we add them to some of our corporate credit cards, which is a lot of fun for me to have to, you know, I had to call capital one, one time and they were like how come your authorized user list looks like the front row of the Oscars meets the NBA all star game.

And I was like, man, they're my friends. I'm just trying to help them out. And they're like, I don't know about that. I don't know about that. 

Tim Ranzetta: So your entree into this world of celebrities and athletes, did that come about because of that 2013 meeting or the, you know, you were introduced to these folks as a result of like, Hey, somebody has got to clean up this issue because, you know, somebody has got our credit cards and it's wreaking havoc on us.

Hey, Anthony's a guy you can trust. Was that the beginning of that part of your business?

[00:31:28] How Anthony Started Doing Business With the Rich and Famous.

Anthony Davenport: This guy knows about money. He's lost all the before, you know? So actually no, the reason that happened is because as we started, I mean, we were working with anybody who would pay us basically right in the beginning.

But at that time I said, you know, we just went through an awful recession. We're going to go through another one. They happen. When I got out into the workforce, the dot com recession happened and I was in the front lines of that and I jumped into the mortgage business or recession and I was in the front lines of that.

I thought I was bad luck. I was like, whatever industry I get into, man, it's tough. But I basically said, how do I make a business that's recession proof? Because I got punched in the face twice. And I was like, the third time I'm going to duck. So I then pivoted and said, you know what, you know who needs credit and has money, the rich and famous and people said, Oh, they don't need credit help.

And I'm like, Oh yeah, they do. They borrow a lot more money than you and I, and the banks don't say, Oh, you're a superstar. We will bend our rules. And no, they don't care. American express doesn't care. They just say, Nope, you don't get it. go away. So I pivoted and said, let me cater to the rich and famous for that reason.

And so around that's how like in 2013, they knew to call me. Yeah. Was because I had already established myself as the credit guru to the stars. Early on I made that pivot. 

Tim Ranzetta: What are the trends with, I mean, you mentioned earlier one of your services is cleaning up credit reports. Will you have a, a business forever in perpetuity because there doesn't seem to be an incentive for credit bureaus to clean up their act in terms of making sure that information is actually accurate.

Is the trend at least getting better? 

Anthony Davenport: No, absolutely not. It's it's run by rich white men who make money off of being that and, and saying the system is broken and I love it that way. They make money on it. Because they can say, Oh, you know, this company reported something and it's erroneous and now your credit score is in the toilet.

Well, guess what? You're going to pay a lot more for that mortgage or that credit card, but you're still the same, same credit risk. So no, and in fact, the first thing that the banks did after the 2008 crash is they implemented what's called risk based pricing. They said, well, now every 20 points to your credit score will impact your interest rates on everything.

Didn't used to do that used to be all right, if you got a 600 score, you get the rate. And if you have less than that, you don't. So now they could say, well, if you have this score, then you get this rate, this score, this rate. They almost all have the same risk, but now they can charge you more for it. So no, this, this system is not getting any better.

It's designed to make money. So it's doing what it's designed to do. 

Tim Ranzetta: I'm always curious about this and you've, you've probably studied this cause you're racing to get people to get their credit scores up. Like, okay, so let's say I am a college student. I'm graduating for those folks. Not an athlete, not an entertainer, not somebody with incredibly high income, but maybe a job like six months after they take out their first credit card and they make on time payments.

Like, what's the progression of credit scores over time for somebody who has, you know, I realized there's a lot of variables in terms of giving an exact number, but I always wonder, like, how long does it take to get to 700? 

[00:35:08] How Long Does It Take to Reach a Credit Score of 700?

Anthony Davenport: They could start from nothing and they could have a 740 score in 60 days if they follow the instructions in my book, your score endorsed by Oprah Winfrey available on Amazon.

Come on, man. I got to put kids through college. So no, I literally lay it out in the book. Like here's a step by step way to do it. 60 days? 60 days. 60 days. They don't have to pay me all the money that the, the entertainers do. But it's not long. It's not long. If they have no credit and they have access to authorized users and secured cards, like I just said, boom, 60 days.

Tim Ranzetta: Okay. So let's go into your book. Cause we're going to give away 50 copies folks. And the odds are pretty good here. Cause I see 85 people here. What are, let's say three things that people consistently get wrong about credit scores. 

[00:36:02] What People Consistently Get Wrong About Credit Scores.

Anthony Davenport: We need another hour for that. I'll tell you. Number one is people say, my credit is great.

I pay my bills on time. Your credit score. Yes. The biggest chunk of it comes down to whether you pay your bills on time, but that's only 35 percent 35%. The other 65 percent has absolutely positively nothing to do with whether you pay your bills on time. That's like the biggest issue number one, because people are like, I make a lot of money.

I'm a Hollywood exec. Oh man, the egos here are just insane. And I'm like, I don't care. You got a six 40 score because your credit card balance is too high. What? Oh, you know? So that's it. Number two thing. They assume that because they pay their bills off in full each month, that their credit must be good.

And I got bad news for you. Only up the banks and creditors. They only update the credit bureaus every like 30 to 45 days. That's it. So if you make a payment on the 1st when you get paid and your balance is a little high on the 30th when they report, you look like a credit risk. Even though you're like, well, I paid it on the first, they don't update it like in real time.

So you have to know, 

Tim Ranzetta: I discovered that, I was shocked. I looked at, you know, it was like a pretty significant drop, 20, 30 points on my credit score. I'm like, what happened? so. Advice there is what? Pay down your credit card twice a month? Like... 

Anthony Davenport: Honestly, don't sweat it.

Don't sweat it at all. Unless you're about to do something that's going to be like super reliant upon your credit. Like you're going to apply for a home mortgage 60 days before that happens, you need to zero out your credit cards and then don't use them or pay them consistently like a few times a week so that the balance never gets too high until after you close. 

That's the thing to do or use an American Express card, American Express charge cards, only the charge cards. You can put whatever balance you want on them. They'd never report to the credit bureaus what that is and it doesn't impact it. 

Tim Ranzetta: All right. Anything else folks get wrong? 

Anthony Davenport: Yeah. They, they assume that, Oh, something is wrong in my credit report. All I need to do is write to them and then they're going to rectify it. And in my seminars, I say, listen, there's no Easter Bunny, there's no Santa Claus, and there's no human that is receiving your letter and saying, I got a letter from Tim.

They made a mistake. We need to fix this. Let me phone up, you know, American Express and tell them they got it wrong and they need to, that's not how it works. It's a computer that reads the letter, scans it and determines what the response is. Humans won't touch it.

Tim Ranzetta: Okay, so you're gonna Christopher has invited you to visit his classroom. You're there. Teachers are always looking for fun activities to bring a subject like this to life. What are you going to do with Christopher's students? 

[00:39:18] Ways to Bring A Subject Of Credit To Life in Classrooms. 

Anthony Davenport: So you have to, what age group are they? 

Tim Ranzetta: High school. So I think, I think 11th, 12th grade.

Anthony Davenport: Oh man, you're going to put me in high school, high school. And those are the hardest ones to teach. The college kids are usually more open to it. The middle school kids, they don't know any different. The high school kids are like, we know everything we have Instagram and Facebook.

We're like, we got Instagram. We know it all. So. You got to tell them that examples like, Hey, listen, you like some throwback air Jordans because I do too. Well, if you have bad credit, you're paying so much more for it. And then you give them a real life examples. I wish that they had games that would really bring that home.

And I'm actually like, I've handed information to a friend and said, we used to run a Kumon center and I was like, create this, just take this and create it. Because there are some financial literacy games are kind of fun, but they don't take into account interest and credit scores because they're like, Oh, you know, it's like in monopoly, your car broke down and, you know, you got to pay 200 to fix it.

You know, it's like, all right, well, if you were to put down a credit card at 30 percent interest, you know, you pay this much instead of 200, you're really paying 400 over time. But if your credit score is worse, now you're paying 500 over time. So you equate it in terms that they understand because the average American, and I'm talking the average American with the average credit score, which they figured out the average American is like someone who lives in the suburb of Utah.

Has, you know, 2. 1 kids, car, dog white picket fence that they bought for like 300, 000. That person is going to pay an extra few hundred thousand dollars in interest over their lifetime just because they don't have immaculate credit. They just have average credit. So you got to make it relevant to the kids in terms they understand, like.

Those Jordans are going to cost you so much more because you're not paying attention to your credit. You're going to pay attention to your credit. You may not clean your room. You're going to pay attention to your credit because you really want them Jordans and you want the Air Force Maxis too. I know you do because I have them and I want them.

I want another pair. So that's the kind of thing that you got to relate. And you say that your credit is like your reputation. So it's saying, Hey, if I borrow money from you, I'm going to do what I said. I'm going to do. And if you're that kid in class that says, Hey, loan me a dollar and then I'll pay you back tomorrow.

And you don't same thing with your credit score. Same thing. It's your reputation. 

Tim Ranzetta: Yeah. I love that. I think back in the day, I would always ask the question, what, if a stranger came to you asking for money, what would you ask them, you know, before you lent them the money and it kind of gets to this issue of reputation and, you know, a lot of the like, how much do they owe other people?

Are they reliable? Have they paid other people off? Like kind of trying to bring it down to, as you said, bring it to their level things they want to purchase, realizing, you know, the person next to you may have the same pair of shoes. But it might have cost them twice as much. 

Anthony Davenport: Yeah, especially if they finance it, they put it on the credit card, interest, not great credit, yeah, they're paying, they're paying a whole lot more for the same bit.

Put it in terms they can understand. So, I'm sorry, the question again? 

Tim Ranzetta: Well, the question, you answered it. Is activity, you know, any activities that you had in mind to bring to Christopher? Because, you know, teachers are always... 

Anthony Davenport: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah. Things like that. And you know what, ChatGPT, you can generate these examples.

So you could, you could think of something your kids like to buy, and it depends on their age group as to whether they're into it or not. You know, for if the kid is like 10, you could think of like a Roblox idea, like you're going to buy this widget in Roblox, and it's going to cost 10 Robux, right?

But now imagine your reputation is not very good, and you need to borrow this money from. The bank of mom and dad or whatever. Now, you know, you put that on payments. Now you're doing chores and things like that, but you're going to have to pay back 20 robots for that amount. Chat GPT will kick out examples just like that, that you can relate to on the fly.

I got the app, so I can literally just walk around and be like, Oh, you know, crank that stuff out. So make it relevant to them in that way. If the high school kids, maybe they like throw back Jordans. They don't have to buy CDs anymore. They're spared from that, but, you know, they like to buy fly gear, you know, that's how you can equate it.

Tim Ranzetta: Yeah, I'm glad you brought up ChatGPT. It's kind of like having a colleague, you know, a very well informed creative colleague I always keep a tab open on my browser just as an idea generator.

And I think that sounds like you've had that same experience. 

Anthony Davenport: Oh, yeah. It's great for that. You could come up with it on the fly. 

Tim Ranzetta: So let's deal with another audience. You do work for the NFL. How do you convince these folks who come out with huge bonuses, how do you teach them? Is it tough love?

Is it scared straight? How do you convince them that, you know, the money will not always be there given the average NFL career, right? It's probably three... Three or four years. 

[00:44:31] Ways to Bring A Subject Of Credit To Life With Other Audiences. 

Anthony Davenport: I don't tell them the money's never gonna be there. These guys are huge You want to tell them bad news?

So Yeah, in fact, I have I'm holding an event with the NFL Players Association next month in Miami to educate these guys about opportunities that they didn't know about but essentially Again, you have to make it relevant to the audience. Now, if you are a 20 something year old pro football player who's been told their whole lives, you're amazing, you're wonderful, you're gonna go pro, you're the best in junior high, you're the best in high school, you're the best in college, and women flock and throw themselves at them, and now they've got some money to boot, to add to that ego, I have to make the talk about credit relevant to them.

So I say to them like, Hey, you bought the Lamborghini. He bought the Lambo too. He's paying more for it because his credit. So now he can only afford that Lambo. Well, you got the Lambo and you got the gold watch. So actually my course for them, I changed the name of it to how to get a black card. There's an American express black card.

That's you know, invitation only, and it's for like the rich and elite sort of thing. And I can get that for them. It's the dumbest thing that I do is the most worthless contribution to society I've ever done. But Hey, this is what they want. And you just tell them like, Hey, you want to get a black card?

I'll teach you how to do that in my course. And it's going to be an hour long, trust me, they will show up with a notepad and a pen ready to go. Because I've done that course multiple times. But then you say, all right, if you want to get a black card, you have to have amazing credit. Let me tell you how to get amazing credit and then you can get the black card.

So that's it. 

Tim Ranzetta: Yep. Anthony, we're up on the hour. I want to thank you for sharing your insights. Thank you for really exploring this issue of credit. And I really enjoyed learning about your journey too.

And over how you overcame the challenges. And I really look forward to getting 50 copies of your book to some lucky teachers. 

Anthony Davenport: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. All right, guys. Good luck. Keep doing the Lord's work in teaching these kids. Some of them are knuckleheads and hard headed, but they might turn out well.

I did. None of my teachers saw that coming. All right. Take it easy, guys. 

Tim Ranzetta: Take care, Anthony. 

Ren Makino: I hope you enjoyed this episode with Tim and Anthony. I have a few final housekeeping items before we go. The show notes and full transcript can be found on You can also join these sessions live and ask the speaker questions by signing up for the NGPF Speakers Series Sessions that occur on Thursdays at 4:00 PM pacific Time. And you can sign up to attend on Please be sure to subscribe to the NGPF podcast on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts. Better yet, leave us a review. We love hearing from you and it will help us reach a broader audience. On behalf of Tim and Anthony thank you so much for tuning in to this NGPF podcast.

About the Author

Ren Makino

Ren started interning at NGPF in 2014, and worked part-time through high school and college. With his knowledge growing alongside NGPF, he joined the team to work full-time after graduating from college in 2020. He is also the producer of the NGPF podcast. During his free time, he likes to try out coffees from different roasters across the world.

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