Furthering Access to Credit with Equifax and Zest AI

September 21, 2022

ZEST AI, a leader in expanding access to credit through enhanced scoring, recently announced its partnership with Equifax. This new partnership allows credit unions to directly access artificial intelligence underwriting models tailor-
made to serve their members using Zest AI’s software alongside the Equifax consumer credit report, similar to how they access national credit scores today.

Mike de Vere, CEO at Zest AI, highlights the importance of artificial intelligence in making credit more accessible in the following Q&A. 


What role does Artificial Intelligence (AI) play in furthering financial inclusion?

MdV: Artificial Intelligence is a great propellant for inclusion – but it has to be built with purpose. When increasing inclusion is designed into a machine learning algorithm, AI is enabled to help reduce inherent biases by toning down signals that can be a proxy for borrower demographics like race or gender, while also complying with  legal and regulatory guidance. 


How are credit unions maximizing the benefits of AI-driven lending?

MdV: AI-driven lending was once only accessible to large banks, but now, any lender has the ability to access this technology. Leveraging AI helps a credit union make lending decisions with more accurate and inclusive scores, meaning a credit union is able to say yes to more members. Credit unions celebrate the benefits of AI because they now have a specific focus on enabling their members to live better, fuller lives. In a recent survey we conducted with credit unions, 80% said increasing access to credit should be a top priority for financial institutions during harsh economic climates. For members at credit unions, this means increased access to credit and automated decisions in seconds. A win-win, all around.


Zest AI has partnered closely with Nationwide Consumer Reporting Agencies and data providers, like Equifax. How do these partnerships further your mission?

MdV: Working with partners like Equifax means that we can keep up with the modern-day borrower. Accessing more robust data through Equifax means that Zest AI’s machine learning capability is able to evaluate more data points, score the unscorable and further expand access to credit. 

Zest AI’s mission is to increase access to credit so that everyone can lead more fulfilled lives. Partners, like Equifax, who share that goal provide a powerful connection for fair lending - reaching borrowers across the US.

To learn more about Zest AI and their partnership with Equifax, click here