Discover Financial Services, a leading U.S. direct bank and credit card issuer, and ZestFinance, a leader in artificial intelligence (AI) software for underwriting, announced a partnership to create one of the largest AI-based credit scoring solutions in the financial services industry.
Discover will be using the Zest Automated Machine Learning (ZAML) platform to improve credit underwriting by taking advantage of interpretable machine learning approaches to make more accurate lending decisions.
In a successful trial, Discover and Zest found that the inclusion of more data and artificial intelligence techniques reduced default rates significantly without added portfolio risk.
“A lot of banks struggle just to get their AI out of the lab,” said ZestFinance founder and CEO Douglas Merrill. “Discover is a leader in the financial services industry with the vision to make machine learning core to their business. Using machine learning responsibly means deploying accurate, explainable and fair models.”
“Banks that fail to invest in machine learning will end up fundamentally uncompetitive in a couple of years,” said Roger Hochschild, CEO and president of Discover. “We found the best way to drive benefits faster was to complement our internal efforts with a partnership with Zest.”
The companies expect to put their first ML model into production later this year.
Merrill and Hochschild are scheduled to appear together April 8 at the LendIt Fintech USA conference in San Francisco to discuss key business benefits of matching the latest ML technology with the rich data held by financial institutions.