Experian’s Greg Wright on Opportunities in Financial Inclusion


Financial inclusion has been a rising hot topic in the past few years. Providing underserved populations with the tools they need to manage their finances and build their wealth has been a top goal across many banks and fintechs, especially those focused on credit and underwriting.

I recently had the opportunity to speak with Gregory Wright, Executive Vice President and Chief Product Officer at Experian. Wright was a keynote speaker at this year’s FinovateFall event in New York. He offered key takeaways from his keynote, discussed opportunities for banks when it comes to financial inclusion, and talked about how they can prepare and plan to scale their operations.

Key takeaways from his keynote

I talked about innovation in three parts. The first part was about innovation with purpose. I think being mission-driven and wanting to have an impact in the world helps drive not only what you want to do as a business, it helps drive growth and [has an] impact on consumers and who you serve in the communities you live in. And that also can drive employee engagement; they love to work on something that actually has meaning beyond just making money.

The second part is innovation through scale. So, think about platforms. Think about global scale, how we leverage platforms and data, and cloud computing, and modern APIs so that you can innovate faster, get products to the market faster, and really have an impact not only for your business, but for your clients.

And in the third part, we talked about innovation with analytics. We live in this new world where cloud computing, advanced APIs, and modern APIs pull data from multiple data sources. [They are] able to do that in real time with advanced analytics and automating model deployment. We can bring together things that we’ve never been able to bring together before. That enables us to do analytics and credit scoring in ways we’ve never been able to do before.

On how banks and fintechs can leverage data and technology to drive financial inclusion

So, let’s just talk for a minute about conventional credit scoring. Today, the conventional credit scores can score about 81% of the U.S. population. That’s one-fifth that are not being scored or that are credit invisible. With Experian Lift, we can score between 93% to 96% of the U.S. population. That is a step change in performance. And that’s because we use more data, better analytics, bringing it all together in a big data platform and making it live instantly for consumers. So lenders, banks, fintechs– they need to be doing that every day to score more people, drive financial inclusion, and have better business outcomes.

How do we represent consumers in their time of need? There are one-to-two million credit reports pulled every day. These are the most important financial moments in consumers’ lives. We can help represent that. And I know fintechs want to create a consumer experience that is delightful, seamless, digital, easy. And with analytics and big data platforms, they can make that happen. We can help partner with fintechs to use things like Experian Lift, or, even better, Experian Boost, where we’re allowing consumers to come in, connect their bank account, add data to their credit report in real time based on the bills they pay, and improve their credit score before they even apply for something. We’ve worked with a lot of fintechs to figure out how we not only allow consumers to contribute to their credit report and get a better outcome, but also we can help them with better analytics and scores to score more consumers and get to a better outcome. This is not only good for consumers, because they get to a better financial outcome, it’s good for them. They’re scoring more people, getting to “yes” more often, and helping build their business.

What should companies implement now to prepare for future growth?

It comes down to what they’re trying to do and how they want to grow. I really advocate for innovating with purpose. [They should think] about how they want that consumer experience to feel and what that consumer journey is. How do they make it more digital, more seamless? How do they get to “yes” more often?

And again, we’ve talked about the platform capabilities from Experian that can help them. We’ve talked about how we can go from analytics and model development all the way to production through the Ascend platform. Things that normally take nine-to-twelve months to get a new score into market, into production, through compliance, and through their IT queue suddenly, we can do that in one platform from the analytics to deployment in real time. That’s something that any lender, any bank should be doing because it’s going to help get to “yes” faster, deploy better models in real time, pull data sources from not just the credit bureau but from anywhere. That means you can drive better customer outcomes, get to “yes” more often, not add more risk, and eventually build great businesses.

Photo by Susanne Jutzeler, suju-foto