Equifax Innovations Are Revolutionizing the Credit Industry

IN 2015, EQUIFAX developed a patented solution, NeuroDecision® Technology, powered by explainable artificial intelligence (xAI), to help lenders approve more consumers for credit. The technology is among the first machine learning (ML) credit scoring methodologies to provide explainable reason codes for consumers. 

Among the advantages of explainable AI include advanced algorithms to intelligently combine multiple data sources一traditional credit files and alternative data一for a more comprehensive consumer profile. This allows more powerful insights into how a consumer has traditionally acted in the past, and uses recent behaviors to help predict how that consumer may act in the future.

Furthermore, Equifax’s xAI technology explains how credit or loan decisions are made for the consumer. Recent Equifax research shows using xAI in the credit decisioning process enables another 3+ million consumers to move to super-prime credit bands due to this smarter technology.

Equifax is working toward a launch of its fourth generation of NeuroDecision Technology, and given this innovation and other advances developed through the Enterprise Innovation Lab inside the Equifax Data & Analytics team, ‘CIO Applications’ magazine recently named Equifax to its annual list of Top 25 Machine Learning Companies. 

We sat down with Chris Yasko (pictured), head of Enterprise Innovation Lab, to discuss what makes Equifax xAI technology so unique.  

WHAT LED YOUR TEAM TO FOCUS ON INNOVATING THE CREDIT LENDING PROCESS? 

Credit lending directly and indirectly influences almost every area of the U.S. economy. With loans worth trillions of dollars, any technology capable of making even a small advance in a financial organization’s bottom line or market share would be an opportunity for substantial growth. 

For that reason, both established banks and fintechs are constantly looking for ways to innovate. Both AI and ML present excellent opportunities to expand portfolios. At its core, lending is a big data challenge, making it a function perfectly suited for machine learning. The more data an organization can leverage, the better it can increase business and gain customer traction while eliminating administrative overhead, bad decisions and delays. 

Artificial intelligence and machine learning can deliver optimal decisions aimed at increasing access to credit. In this regard, Equifax is proactively applying new modeling techniques fueled by xAI and ML in the credit decisioning landscape, as seen through our Insight Score for Personal Loans product, and Insight Score for Credit Cards solution. Explainable AI, including NeuroDecision Technology, is critical to our service portfolio by empowering institutions to expand access to credit so people can live their financial best. 

WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FROM THE FOURTH GENERATION OF NEURODESIGN TECHNOLOGY? 

The fourth generation NeuroDecision Technology xAI algorithm comes with an advanced computing structure and big data processing capabilities, which are facilitated by Equifax’s $1.5 billion technology and security transformation, and the move to the Equifax Cloud™. Equifax has significantly expanded its differentiated data assets this year, announcing or completing eight acquisitions, including Appriss Insights, Kount, Teletrack™ and Health e(fx), so far in 2021 totaling close to $3 billion and expected to add more than $300 million of Equifax run-rate revenue in 2022. By leveraging powerful data, technology and analytics, we seek to open more growth opportunities for our clients and more paths to financial products and services for consumers. 

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE FACTORS THAT DIFFERENTIATE EQUIFAX? 

Today, we are at the forefront of machine learning and explainable AI technology. In the last four years, we have obtained more than two dozen patents in these areas. We can process huge volumes of data in the Equifax Cloud like Only Equifax can. More importantly, we work across a wide range of data types, many of them differentiated and proprietary, to deliver robust and actionable insights. 

Further, our team engages extensively with key customers, industry peer groups and universities. We have a faculty research sponsoring program and work with several colleges, including Georgia Institute of Technology, Kennesaw State University and more, providing opportunities for Ph.D. students to do independent research and make significant contributions to science. We have also teamed up with Cornell University in New York, Stanford School of Economics, and Harvard Business School to facilitate research opportunities. 

At the end of the day, we have a laser focus on leveraging data, analytics and technology to empower businesses to make better, more confident decisions, and enable them to expand consumer access to credit.