NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Think on a larger scale was the overarching message of Brent Dixon’s session that kicked off the CU Water Cooler Symposium on Thursday at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts.
The Austin, Texas-based founder of The Cooperative Trust shared quite a few facts but the one that seemed to strike a chord with attendees most was that there are more payday lenders in the U.S than Starbucks and McDonald’s put together.
In addition, it turns out that one of the top reasons why people go to payday lenders is actually in a roundabout way because of the fees.
The upfront, clearly spelled out charges, even if they are predatory and making the choice to do so, seems preferable to dealing with a financial institution where fees will be snuck in, Dixon said.
“There’s an opportunity to disrupt the current credit union system gatekeepers of Experian, Transunion and Equifax to grant access to credit,” Dixon added. “FICO is a really bad risk assessment tool so how do we come up with new models?”
He pointed to Zest Finance as an example of a new approach to underwriting. Using large-scale, big data analyzing variables from financial information to technology usage has resulted in the ability to extend credit to 25% more Americans, Dixon said.
The third-annual CU Water Cooler Symposium concludes on Friday.