AI And Building Trust With Consumers: A Conversation with the CEOs of ZestFinance and Synchrony Financial

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How do banks and fintechs work together to bring real innovation with machine learning in underwriting, while helping to expand access to credit and building trust with consumers? That was the topic of conversation when ZestFinance CEO Douglas Merrill and Synchrony Financial CEO Margaret Keane shared the stage at Money 20/20 in Las Vegas on October 22, 2018. We've pulled some of the highlights of their conversation, moderated by Bloomberg News' Jenny Surane. 

Highlight 1: What does AI mean for your company and the financial industry?
Money quote: "In 20 years people will look back at this time and wish they were part of the creation of the machine learning story."

 

Highlight 2: AI's role in helping expand credit to consumers that are hard to score by traditional techniques
Money quote: "We're mathematically rebuilding the good part of the [lender] dude behind the desk..."

 

Highlight 3: Why is AI explainability so important, and so important to get right?
Money quote: "Credit is the sine qua non of modern life and I owe it to you to be clear about why I decided to give you credit or not."

 

Highlight 4: State-of-the-art credit modeling calls for more data and more frequent model updates -- and this is a good thing.
Money quote: "If you can find a way to unlock the data you already have, it can have incredible value."

 

Highlight 5: Digging into the regulatory landscape of ML in credit
Money quote: "... the short answer is, without perfect explainability, no one should be using ML anywhere in the process. You're going to have an FCRA violation."

 

Highlight 6: Parting words on fintechs and banks working together to bring real innovation to consumers
Money quote: "It's silly to think there's any world in the future other than one where fintechs and banks are working together to do what they're each good at."

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