“The credit scores of millions more Americans are sinking to new lows. Figures provided by FICO, Inc., show that 25.5% of consumers – nearly 43.4 million people – now have a credit score of 599 or below, marking them as poor risks for lenders. It is unlikely that they will be able to get credit cards, auto loans or mortgages under the tighter lending standards banks now use.” reports Eileen AJ Connelly of the Associated Press (See Tacoma News Tribune, 7/12/10, page A8). Ms. Connelly further reports: (a) 2.4 million more people are now in the poor credit 599 and below category than were there in 2008. (b) Only about 17.9% of Americans now enjoy a top credit score of 800 or above, while as recently as April 2008, 18.7% of Americans enjoyed top credit scores of 800 and above. (c) Mid-range credit score individuals who make up about 11.9% of people (FICOs of 650-699) are likely the most affected by the “credit crunch” in that prior to the late 2008-2009 financial meltdown, they readily obtained credit at reasonable rates, but now are often forced to pay much higher rates than they would have paid in early 2008.