Bentonville real estate developer Blue Crane is partnering with a New York-based fintech startup to add a financial amenity for residents in two Northwest Arkansas properties.
Esusu captures rent-payment data and reports it to major credit bureaus, like TransUnion and Experian, allowing renters to use rental payment histories to benefit their credit scores.
Founded in 2018, Esusu promotes financial inclusion and reaches over 2.5 million rental units across all 50 states.
Blue Crane leasing manager Crystal Rascoe initiated the Esusu partnership. She said it helps the real estate company fulfill its goal to improve the quality of life for its residents.
“Historically, unlike homeowners, renters have been barred from reaping the benefits of stable payment history to the credit bureaus,” she said. “This antiquated system further marginalizes communities that are often already disenfranchised.
“Esusu’s rent reporting program aligns well with our core housing model, and the ability to benefit our residents in this area of their lives are critical pieces on the housing road map to continue to help move Northwest Arkansas forward.”
Blue Crane is the real estate acquisition and development arm of Runway Group, a diversified holding company based in Bentonville and led by the brothers Steuart and Tom Walton.
The Blue Crane pilot begins in August for residents at Crystal Flats in Bentonville (487 units) and 202 Railside in Springdale (55 units). Blue Crane CEO Jared Faciszewski did not disclose current occupancy rates.
Nicolette Rabadi Jaze, Esusu’s head of strategic partnerships, said the rent-reporting program is an opt-out model, meaning residents are assumed enrolled unless they ask to be unenrolled. Blue Crane pays Esusu directly, per unit, to essentially offer the rent reporting service as a free amenity.
Jaze did not disclose the financial details of the Blue Crane agreement. Esusu also provides 0% interest loans to tenants if they cannot pay their rent.
Faciszewski said he looks forward to gathering feedback and data from the program and possibly expanding it to additional properties.
“Our working assumption is this will be a valuable piece of the tenant experience and a community builder,” he said. “Blue Crane’s purpose is to create places for humanity to flourish. The Esusu platform provides an opportunity to create a more interesting and compelling community.”
According to Jaze, renters’ credit scores have increased between 30 and 50 points on average after 12 months of positive rent reporting.
“It is impossible to promise or predict a certain score increase because every person has a unique credit risk profile, and multiple factors impact a person’s score (not just rent),” Jaze said. “We have seen anything from a 20 to 100 point increase depending on an individual’s other financial activities and their baseline.”