A well-known Tulsa businessman has a new venture – a web-based company designed to help people improve their credit scores. The question is, will it work?
Bill Bartmann, founder of the debt collection agency CFS2 is launching another company he says is the first of its kind – Financial Samaritan.
For no cost to the client, Financial Samaritan explains to the customer why their credit score is low, then, helps settle their debt.
Bartmann says it's a service that's badly needed, especially in Oklahoma.
"If you have a low number, they don't want to do business with you. You have a high number, they're happy to do business with you," Bartmann said.
A 2015 study by the Corporation for Enterprise Development estimates more than 62 percent of Oklahomans have a subprime credit score - below 640 or so - making Oklahoma one of the worst in the country, ranking 43rd.
That's no surprise to Larry Rosebure, who works for Christian Credit Counseling.
“I think, for the average Oklahoman, most of the credit score is kind of a mystery," he said.
Financial Samaritan is the latest of Bartmann's projects.
Back in 1999, Bartmann's original debt collection agency CFS went bankrupt and nearly 4,000 people were laid off.
After the company was investigated for fraud, and its co-founder was found guilty of conspiracy - Bartmann himself was acquitted - he then re-launched CFS2 nearly five years ago.
Today, Bartmann bluntly addressed the past controversies.
"I was unjustly and wrongly accused of an incident that the government later apologized to me for, so I don't think there's any further conversation on the topic," he said.
Financial Samaritan’s services have already been used by 2,000 customers, but in order to break even it needs 3,000 more.
In order to make money, the company will take commissions from loan companies when its customers choose to apply for the loans.