ZestFinance and Microsoft collaborate on AI solution for finance industry

ZestFinance and Microsoft collaborate on AI solution for finance industry
Two firms hope to improve assessment of creditworthiness with machine learning and data 

Elly Yates-Roberts |

LA-based machine learning (ML) developer for credit analysis ZestFinance is partnering with Microsoft to create an artificial intelligence (AI) solution for the finance industry. The two firms hope to improve the ways financial services organisations assess creditworthiness using explainable machine learning (a form of artificial intelligence where decisions can be easily understood by humans) and data analytics.  

The collaboration aims to accelerate adoption of machine learning in financial services, potentially cutting costs for banks and making credit accessible to those who are currently overlooked by legacy systems because they have little to no history on file. 

Financial institutions will be able to use the Zest Automated Machine Learning (ZAML) tools to build, deploy and monitor credit models using the Microsoft Azure cloud and Machine Learning Server. 

“Microsoft has built amazing ML services for the enterprise that enable IT organisations to manage and scale their infrastructure easily to meet diverse business needs,” said Douglas Merrill, CEO and founder of ZestFinance. “With Zest explainability, businesses can start using Microsoft's ML platforms more broadly for high-stakes use cases that demand transparency and auditability.”

“Microsoft supports ZestFinance’s ambition to help the financial services industry make better borrowing decisions and equitably help grow our communities,” says Toni Townes-Whitley, president of US Regulated Industries at Microsoft. “With solutions powered by Microsoft technology, the future of AI and the growth of financial services can be much more inclusive, underscored by Microsoft's investments in security, privacy, and regulatory compliance.”

A customer of both Microsoft and Zest, Prestige Financial Services, implemented the explainable ML credit scoring solution in early 2018. Within six months, Prestige doubled its lending volume and made credit to consumers previously overlooked by legacy models.

"Our success was enabled by cutting-edge explainable AI from ZestFinance with battle-hardened infrastructure from Microsoft that is familiar to manage and easy to scale for our business," said Rob Eagleston, chief technology officer at Prestige Financial Services. 

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