The use of alternative data sources and machine learning to assess the credit quality of applicants gives US fintechs an advantage over banks when it comes to small business lending, according to a paper from the Bank for International Settlements.
The researchers conclude that fintech lending platforms lent more to small businesses in ZIP codes with higher unemployment rates and higher business bankruptcy filings.
Their internal credit scores were able to predict future delinquencies more accurately than traditional Fico scores or VantageScores, with a large uplift in the area under the receiver operating characteristics curve. Notably, the improvement in predictive performance was highest in areas with higher unemployment.
Concludes the paper: “This indicates that the use of alternative data and machine learning is probably a key factor in fintech lenders’ contribution to improving credit access for small businesses.”
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