FinRegLab Events

Developing the Credit System for Greater Fairness and Inclusion

FinRegLab Webinar – Wednesday, September 30, 2020

The credit system plays a foundational role in helping millions of families and small business owners build better lives for themselves, strengthening local communities and the national economy in the process. Yet millions of individuals and small businesses struggle to access the credit system because of weaknesses and gaps in the type of data traditionally relied upon for credit underwriting.

Traditional data used to evaluate people and small businesses for credit risk are limited in three critical ways: (1) they rely heavily on credit history, which makes it difficult to assess people who do not already have mainstream credit access; (2) they can reflect previous discrimination and disparities in employment, housing, wealth building, and financial services, and in turn perpetuate obstacles to inclusion going forward; (3) they are subject to reporting lags and other limitations that make it particularly difficult to assess borrowers accurately in rapidly changing economic conditions and/or as they work to recover from past financial crises.

Today, three profound societal challenges increase the urgency of efforts to address the limitations of the traditional credit information system: a viral pandemic, a severe economic downturn, and a mass movement for racial justice. Each of these disproportionately affect minorities, and occurring at once, they underscore the extraordinary stakes for African American and Hispanic families, communities, and businesses of addressing longstanding barriers to financial and economic inclusion.

The increasingly sophisticated use of both traditional and new data accompanied by more advanced modeling analytics could produce significant benefits for consumers, for instance by increasing the speed and convenience of credit delivery, expanding access for historically underserved populations, supporting more personally tailored financial products and services, and giving consumers and small businesses more control over their financial lives. But achieving these benefits while managing risks and implementation hurdles requires careful thought and coordinated action. ​

Nevertheless, changes in data and technology also require careful evaluation and management of risks, such as gauging whether particular models are reliable in the face of changing economic conditions, the risk that particular data sources or techniques might replicate or reinforce historical discrimination, and potential losses of personal privacy and control over data. Attention is needed to determine how to evolve the credit system to enable the safe and responsible use of new types of data and advanced analytics for more inclusive credit access.

This event will include a diverse range of experts who will share their perspectives on defining priorities for developing the U.S. credit system in ways that will support an inclusive recovery from the pandemic and address longer term inequalities.


Grovetta Gardineer

Senior Deputy Comptroller for Bank Supervision Policy
Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC)

Jason Gross

Co-Founder & CEO

Michael Rapaport

Executive Vice President, Small Business Lending

Chi Chi Wu

National Consumer Law Center
  • COVID-19 Triage (Series)

    Rapidly adjusting credit reporting and underwriting practices and processing small businesses’ Paycheck Protection Program applications posed substantial challenges in the first months of the pandemic. In 2020, FinRegLab produced a series of research briefs highlighting emerging issues and innovations. Learn More

About FinregLab

FinRegLab is an independent, nonprofit organization that conducts research and experiments with new technologies and data to drive the financial sector toward a responsible and inclusive marketplace. The organization also facilitates discourse across the financial ecosystem to inform public policy and market practices. To receive periodic updates on the latest research, subscribe to FRL’s newsletter and visit Follow FinRegLab on LinkedIn and Twitter (X). | 1701 K Street Northwest, Suite 1150, Washington, DC 20006