Equifax earnings drop 16 percent

Atlanta-based Equifax reported Wednesday that its second-quarter earnings dropped 16 percent to $59.6 million compared to the same period a year ago, as the lingering recession took its toll on the credit reporting firm.

With business down across the globe, fewer customers were accessing the company’s database of credit reports and other financial products and services. Year-over-year revenues fell 9 percent, to $455.4 million.

“In the face of ongoing softness in the global economy and in demand for credit-related services, we continue to aggressively manage our expenses, diversify our revenue base and invest in our long-term growth strategy,” the company’s chairman and CEO, Richard F. Smith, said in a news release.

“We believe these efforts will position us well for revenue growth when the economy begins to recover.”

The company reported earnings of 57 cents per share, matching Wall Street analysts’ estimates. Areas exhibiting growth include the company’s TALX division, which provides income verification services for lenders and governments. Second-quarter revenues at TALX, which Equifax purchased in 2007, grew by 12 percent to $86 million — driven in part by the mortgage refinancing boom.

“There are opportunities to drive growth in this kind of environment, you just have to pick and choose your spots,” said Jeffrey Dodge, the company’s senior vice president of investor relations.