It’s no secret that the unbanked and under-banked segments of the American population are significant in number and growing. Many cannot open bank accounts, let alone qualify for financing. Given the potential for great returns, a flurry of entrepreneurial activity has generated products and services to cater to and better understand these individuals who live and work outside the financial mainstream. While not all of this activity is positive, a few promising innovations stand poised to increase financial inclusion in the United States and abroad.
Earlier this year, Accion President and CEO Michael Schlein and Board Chairman Diana Taylor wrote in Forbes about DemystData, a company that uses big data to evaluate creditworthiness. “Lenders can use Demyst’s analyses to evaluate an applicant’s quality in real-time based on a range of different attributes,” write Schlein and Taylor. “This makes the process more efficient while lessening the burden on applicants: those lenders can say ‘yes’ to deserving entrepreneurs more frequently and efficiently.” Demyst technology serves under-banked and “thin-file” customers, helping organizations like Accion make smarter lending decisions.