Data collection agency Experian’s deal with Finicity to collect and process borrower information is an example of the how Big Data is being used by the financial services sector.
Recently I wrote a piece for Fairfax Media on the Science of Money which included some quotes from Experian’s Australian managers. They were quite explicit about their use of data.
That a company like Experian is adopting more advanced analytics isn’t surprising given the power of the tools available. What’s also driving the adoption is the proliferation of devices available to track people.
Notable among those devices are personal assistants, as David Pogue writes in Scientific American, household technologies like Amazon Alexa, Google Home and Apple Siri are vacuuming up huge amounts of data on our behaviour, likes and dislikes.
Increasingly all of this is being fed into machines that determine our suitability for marketing campaigns, credit and financial services.
For companies like Experian this is a massive opportunity although the focus on credit suitability betrays a mindset more suited to the 1980s finance boom than the more complex times of the early 21st century.
It’s hard though not to think that given a choice the finance sector will happily use these tools to take us into another subprime lending crisis which would be a shame as these technologies’ potential for allowing us to make better decisions is immense.
How we use these tools will define our businesses, economies and communities over the next thirty years. We need to be careful about some of the choices we make.