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Trust Science, Alternative Data, and the Path to Financial Inclusion

Trust Science, Alternative Data, and the Path to Financial Inclusion

With $7.5 million in fresh capital and a green light from the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office for its “Credit Bureau 2.0” moniker, Finovate newcomer Trust Science enters 2021 even better prepared to fulfill its mission of empowering lenders who serve un- and underbanked communities.

“Between 64 million and 100 million Americans, adult consumers, cannot be scored for credit, or scored properly. In the world, it’s three billion adults,” Trust Science founder and CEO Evan Chrapko explained during his company’s Finovate debut in 2019. “We’re here to solve that problem and give deserving people the credit that they deserve.”

Founded in 2007 and headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, Trust Science is part of the burgeoning subprime credit risk analysis industry. In recent days, Trust Science confirmed both that it has boosted its total capital to $11.5 million and that it had secured trademark approval for its AI-powered, dynamic credit scoring platform – Credit Bureau 2.0.

Trust Science’s platform leverages AI and machine learning to generate profiles that can be used to provide credit scoring for thin file and no-hit consumers. The solution uses alternative and unstructured data, such as the size and scope of social networks, message and data sentiment, and other factors to “expand the scorable universe” of potentially worthy borrowers and to provide better product fits for all customers.

Since its FinovateSpring appearance, Trust Science has forged partnerships with Inovatec Systems, Vergent Loan Management Software (formerly eSoftware Solutions), and was nominated as AI Company of the Year by the Canadian FinTech and AI Awards. Just under a year ago, the company hired former Equifax executive Jeremy Mitchell as its Chief Data and Analytics Officer. As part of his 20 years of experience in alternative data and analytics, Mitchell was part of the original development team that built VantageScore, a rival to the traditional FICO score.

“Trust Science is building solutions that benefit both the consumer and the lender,” Mitchell said when the appointment was announced. “This decade will see the world expect Alternative Data and AI to be harnessed for good, like Financial Inclusion.”

We cannot yet speak for the decade and alternative data. But we already know the role alternative data has played in supporting financial inclusion over the past year, as the health and economic consequences of COVID-19 have put severe financial stresses on small businesses, their workers, and their families.

Chrapko addressed this challenge – and opportunity – in a CEO Letter early last year as the lockdowns were taking hold across the world. “Individuals and businesses are already feeling financial shortfalls,” he wrote. “Lenders like you are going to need to make decisions about a growing number of individuals within the context of a volatile and uncertain market.”

With concerns over new, more contagious strains of the coronavirus forcing more lockdowns and social distancing, the pressure on lenders is not likely to relent any time soon. Leveraging alternative data – via partnerships with companies like Trust Science – may help them make more accurate, fairer, credit decisions to ensure that thin-file borrowers get the help they need and lenders take on only the risk they can afford.