Civil Rights Organizations, Consumer Advocates, and Industry Leaders Unite to Launch ‘MoreThanFair’ Initiative to Improve Access to Affordable and Inclusive Credit
September 13, 2022 08:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time
WASHINGTON--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A broad-based community of civil rights organizations, consumer advocates, lenders, and technology firms today announced the launch of MoreThanFair, an education initiative that brings together the non-profit, public, and private sectors to make lending more inclusive, transparent, and fair. To mark the launch of the initiative, the group today unveiled a website that will be used as a digital forum for the MoreThanFair community’s work going forward: www.morethanfair.com.
MoreThanFair participants believe:
America needs faster progress toward a more inclusive and affordable credit system nationwide.
Modern technology and data science, under proper public and private regulation and supervision, can make more progress toward this goal than we’ve seen in decades.
Fairness standards and testing requirements should apply equally to all lenders and all methods, irrespective of underlying technology or process.
Traditional credit scores are more than 30 years old and are often used by lenders in ways that unfairly limit access to affordable credit for car loans, mortgages, personal loans, and more. This has created a system where millions of potentially credit-worthy Americans, including small business owners, are cut out of the financial mainstream. Young adults, recent immigrants, and low- and moderate-income Americans, especially those from Black and Hispanic households, are the most impacted. Applying AI and data science could lead to improved credit outcomes and reduce interest payments for Americans by $103 billion per year.1
Participants include the American Fintech Council, Credit Builders Alliance, National Bankers Association, National Community Reinvestment Coalition, National Consumer Law Center, Prosperity Now, UnidosUS, Camino Financial, Cross River, Esusu, LendingClub, Oportun, SolasAI, Stratyfy, Upstart, and Zest AI.
Nicole Elam, CEO of the National Bankers Association, said: “Minority Depository Institutions have long been leaders in serving communities that traditional credit underwriting models have overlooked. The NBA is pleased to help launch the MoreThanFair community with fintechs, consumer advocates and civil rights firms to bring our unique perspective on credit access to the digital arena.”
Jesse Van Tol, President and CEO of the National Community Reinvestment Coalition, said: “We are encouraged by the prospect for meaningful engagement with industry and with other advocacy organizations. As an organization that is committed to ensuring that financial institutions have community reinvestment obligations and comply with all consumer protection regulations, we hope that MoreThanFair becomes a vehicle for those goals."
Gary Cunningham, President and CEO of Prosperity Now, said: “Prosperity Now is proud to join MoreThanFair, a powerful channel for increased transparency in lending and stronger credit solutions for Black and Brown consumers, innovators, and entrepreneurs. As long-standing champions of financial inclusion and access, we are excited to join this dynamic nonprofit and private sector alliance. As a national organization committed to building an economy that truly works for everyone, we proudly support this new effort, which we believe will bring us a step closer to closing the racial and ethnic wealth divide.”
Nicholas Schmidt, CEO of SolasAI, said: "Participating in the MoreThanFair community is a thrilling opportunity to collaborate with the most innovative & inclusive organizations in the consumer finance industry. We love to see such broad-based stakeholders, from the largest fintechs to the most influential public advocacy groups come together. At SolasAI we know from our many years of working with a large portion of financial institutions in America, that a tremendous opportunity exists to expand credit for under-served communities and others for whom traditional credit has not been an option. We are looking forward to providing the experience and knowledge of methods and policies that allow us all to work together in finding more inclusive practices & models."
Laura Kornhauser, CEO of Stratyfy, said: “As a female-founded technology startup, we understand what it is like to be in a category often discriminated against. Because of this, we made the conscious decision to use our knowledge and skills to help create a fairer, more inclusive — and more profitable — lending ecosystem. That’s why we build Stratyfy’s Unbias™️ software, which — for the first time — allows lenders to get clarity into how their models are built to identify any discriminatory lending or biases in their practices. Additionally, they are provided with recommendations on optimizing their models to be more compliant, creating more lending opportunities more quickly, and helping to identify and increase revenue generation opportunities.”
Dave Girouard, CEO and Co-Founder of Upstart, said: “Overcoming decades of inertia in access to credit is a huge challenge, so we’re fortunate to be joined in this effort by a diverse group of leading organizations. Modern approaches to lending such as AI can bring more Americans the affordable credit they deserve, and we are proud to work with those who share our commitment to making credit more inclusive and fair."
Mike de Vere, CEO of Zest AI, said: “Millions of people in the U.S. have been left behind because of traditional credit scoring methods. They deserve better because their livelihoods depend on it. People are more than a score, and when we take a fuller picture of a person and remove systemic biases, fairer lending happens. Everyone joining the MoreThanFair community has the same mission – making lending more inclusive, transparent, and fair. We’re excited to partner to strive toward that mission together.”
Phil Goldfeder, SVP and Head of Global Public Affairs of Cross River, said: “Fairness in financial services and the concept of innovation are not mutually exclusive—hand-in-hand, they are key pillars of responsible fintech products that serve millions of consumers and businesses every day. New technology, like AI, is paramount to propelling a more inclusive and affordable credit system and we’re humbled to join as a founding member of MoreThanFair to ensure every American has equal access to the safe and compliant financial services they need.”
Armen Meyer, Head of Public Policy at LendingClub, said: "Consumers deserve better than the financial system has traditionally provided. We’re finding that a technology-based approach is enabling more lending in communities underserved by traditional lenders, and at lower prices.”
Organizations interested in getting involved with MoreThanFair can reach out to email@example.com for more information.
MoreThanFair is a community of organizations dedicated to improving access to affordable and inclusive credit for American consumers and small businesses. While access to credit hasn’t improved materially in several decades, we believe that modern technology and data science can now make lending more inclusive, more transparent, and more fair. Achieving that promise requires a collaborative effort by the private and public sector to ensure that models are properly supervised and rigorously tested under a well-understood framework. With a focused effort, real and lasting progress is possible. To learn more, visit morethanfair.com.
1See data info at www.morethanfair.com