Leading analytic software firm FICO today announced the FICO Financial Inclusion Initiative, a global effort to increase access to affordable credit for consumers and businesses with limited or no credit history. Through a combination of business partnerships, innovative new products, mobile platforms and cloud-based services, the company expects to help credit grantors make affordable credit more accessible to unbanked and underbanked adults worldwide, who are estimated to number more than 3 billion.
"The FICO Score has helped Americans and people in more than 20 countries obtain credit, but there are billions of adults who fall outside the credit mainstream," said Jim Wehmann, EVP of Scores at FICO. "We recognized the need to quickly and reliably develop innovative ways to help lenders make safe and sound credit decisions on consumers who didn't have a traditional credit profile.
"We started with the introduction of FICO Score XD in the US last year. The FICO Financial Inclusion Initiative builds on what we have learned to leverage FICO's expertise in predictive analytics and data science with partners in local markets. By taking advantage of new alternative data sources, delivery platforms and mobile technology, we and our partners will create scalable access to credit that addresses the unique needs of each country."
FICO also announced the first international efforts of the initiative:
A partnership with EFL Global to expand credit scoring options for lenders and consumers in Turkey, Russia and Mexico using consumer-contributed psychometric scoring technology.
A partnership with Lenddo to develop scores that bring more consumers in India into the credit mainstream.
FICO® Score XD –— a new score launched in 2015 in the US that leverages alternative data sources to give issuers a second opportunity to assess otherwise unscorable consumers.
"As the pioneer of credit scoring analytics, FICO helped to make lending non-biased and democratic, which fuelled tremendous growth in the United States economy," Wehmann noted. "This initiative is an exciting next chapter in the FICO story of innovation that can enable lenders' financial inclusion initiatives and give more people access to credit, which can have broader benefits for the economy."
"Access to financial services at affordable rates is a key component of financial inclusion for individuals and small businesses," said Tony Lythgoe, co-practice manager for Financial Inclusion and Access, Finance and Markets Global Practice, World Bank Group. "The development of innovative analytical solutions targeted at excluded and underserved individuals and businesses is a welcome addition to the efforts to end extreme poverty."
"Commitment on this scale by FICO to develop innovative solutions leveraging alternative data to help increase financial inclusion is very promising," said Michael Turner, founder, president and CEO of PERC. "With emerging technology and leading organizations focused on this effort, it really is possible to make a scalable positive impact for millions of people."
The FICO® Score is the standard measure of US consumer credit risk, and is used in more than 20 countries. More than 10 billion FICO Scores are purchased each year by lenders. Through its myFICO® service and the FICO® Score Open Access program, FICO helps American consumers understand their credit health.
FICO (NYSE: FICO) powers decisions that help people and businesses around the world prosper. Founded in 1956 and based in Silicon Valley, the company is a pioneer in the use of predictive analytics and data science to improve operational decisions. FICO holds more than 165 US and foreign patents on technologies that increase profitability, customer satisfaction and growth for businesses in financial services, telecommunications, health care, retail and many other industries. Using FICO solutions, businesses in more than 100 countries do everything from protecting 2.6 billion payment cards from fraud, to helping people get credit, to ensuring that millions of airplanes and rental cars are in the right place at the right time.