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In 2021, Stoneweg US introduced Esusu as a financial amenity to their properties to help their residents improve their “financial fitness.”
“The early deployment of the Esusu program across our portfolio was a no-brainer as soon as we heard about it,” states Patrick Richard, Founder and CEO of Stoneweg US. “We also immediately decided to offer this service to our residents instead of charging them for it. This is a small contribution on our side to help our residents improve their financial situation, and we found this is a nice way to give them something back,” added Richard.
Stoneweg US has many workforce housing properties, so accessing rent relief for their residents through Esusu was another major factor in the initiative.
In January 2022, 745 Stoneweg US residents established first-time credit scores through the Esusu program. By the end of the year, there were 1,864 renters with new access to credit, an increase of over 150%.
This massive increase in established scores represents over 1,100 individuals gaining access to a crucial piece of the American financial system.
“Rental payments are a significant aspect of people’s financial lives, and it’s time to recognize their impact. Positive rental credit reporting ensures that responsible residents receive the credit they deserve, ultimately fostering a more equitable credit landscape,” says Richard.
Being credit invisible can lead to many financial hurdles for people trying to build wealth in America. A credit score provides access to many financial products, like mortgages and car loans. Plus, the higher a person’s credit score, the lower interest rates they can access as they take on necessary debt through credit cards and loans.
Interest rates have steadily risen since 2022 at a rate unseen in decades. As salaries remain stagnant, more Americans rely on personal debt to make ends meet, with credit card debt reaching an all-time high.
For Stoneweg US residents who have established credit with Rent Reporting through Esusu, avoiding predatory payday loans (with APRs as high as 400%) and accessing lower-interest debt could keep families financially solvent even during challenging economic times.
Another highlight of the program was the credit improvement seen by younger renters. In 2022, nearly 39% of Stoneweg US renters were 30 or under. This trend fits closely with growing numbers of younger renters in the United States, with 48% of people under 30 renting instead of owning a home.
This age range of Stoneweg US renters represents a critical time in most people’s financial lives. Data suggests that the earlier you begin reporting credit, the higher your credit score will be on average, with people who establish a credit score at 18 years old on average having 10 points higher credit by the age of 30 than someone who established at 19, and 18 points higher than someone who established at 20.
Credit age accounts for about 15% of a person’s credit score. The longer your credit history, the higher your credit score on average. By enabling renters (especially those who might not have access to traditional credit-building activities, like being an authorized user on a relative’s credit line) to establish and build credit during these vital years, Stoneweg helped ensure renters’ financial fitness for decades.
In 2022, Stoneweg US deployed over $55,000 in rent relief funds to residents in need, resulting in 38 households being able to pay their rent. For many, especially those in affordable or workforce housing, rent relief can be the difference between remaining in their home and becoming unhoused.
In Arizona, where the largest percentage (14%) of Stoneweg US properties are located, the median gross rent for a two-bedroom apartment was $1,040 in 2021, while the state minimum wage was $12.80/hr, approximately $26,600 annually. Rent equating to more than half of a minimum wage salary means a high likelihood of delinquencies.
As the state faces a significant homelessness crisis (Arizona’s unhoused population increased by 23% between 2020-2022, the largest increase in the nation), rent relief has proven to be a massive help for residents needing extra assistance to stay in their homes.
credit scores established in 2022
increase in established credit scores
of Stoneweg residents using rent reporting between 18-30
of rent relief deployed in 2022