Why we move fast, but don’t break things

A letter from credit industry veteran and our CEO & Co-Founder, Stephen Hawkins. This is why CRS believes in trust and transparency, for a better world (truly).

Stephen Hawkins, CEO, CRS Stephen Hawkins

May 19, 2022

Originally published on LinkedIn


April 2007. Exactly 15 years ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday. In my 25 years in the credit industry, I’ve never had my phone ring as much as it did that day, only to go silent hours later.

New Century Financial Corp was a leading subprime mortgage lender. When they defaulted on their debt, the industry started to panic. Fears materialized as more lenders folded.

The 2008 financial crisis is a persistent reminder of the importance of trust in our industry. We witnessed how risky lending can break one of the strongest economies in the world. Millions of businesses shuttered. Real people lost jobs, houses, and life savings.

That day, I decided to drive change. Ever since, I’ve worked to build trust and transparency in the credit industry. We’re building for today while protecting our tomorrow, hoping that we never have to experience a credit-driven catastrophe again.

There has been real progress with Dodd-Frank and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Most notably, the credit bureaus tightened the reins, drastically reducing the number of Credit Reporting Agencies (CRAs)–certified businesses that can collect, grant access to, and deliver credit data on behalf of the bureaus. This small, trusted group, of which I’m honored to be a part, has done a superb job in balancing growth and risk. I applaud my fellow CRAs on a job well done.

In this industry, playing reckless games with sensitive data can affect real people, businesses, and, at worst, entire economies. Putting profit before principles is what caused the crash 15 years ago. Those of us who were leaders in the industry by 2008 know: Lax lending has real consequences.

To those who are affected by irresponsible behavior in this industry, you have a partner you can trust at CRS. I will see to it personally.


Stephen Hawkins
CEO & Co-Founder, CRS Group


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