Credit Services Look at Facebook Friends; Data Gleaned from Social Networks Could Determine Creditworthiness

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), December 26, 2011 | Go to article overview

Credit Services Look at Facebook Friends; Data Gleaned from Social Networks Could Determine Creditworthiness


Byline: Tim Devaney, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

In a new social twist, banks might start using your profiles on Facebook, Twitter and other networks to determine your creditworthiness.

Social networks long have been an easy way for employers, schools, law enforcement and lawyers to keep tabs on people. They can investigate status updates, photos, videos, and even the friends a person associates with.

Now, lenders want a piece of the social action, too, hoping to leverage it to make sure a borrower is trustworthy.

Popular sites a len-der might target include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Gmail, Yahoo, Windows Live, and eBay.

There is plenty of correct information that can be learned, and that is why they look around, said Jeff Kagan, a wireless and telecom industry analyst based in Atlanta. However, there is more bad information that has no real connection to you that can also be used against you. It can mean being turned down for a loan, or paying a higher interest rate on one. This is real.

Movenbank measures a person's credit score to determine an applicant's trustworthiness. It looks at credit history, behavioral analysis and social networking reach and influence.

We're more interested in whether those friends trust you, or are prepared to vouch for you, Movenbank founder Brett King said. What we're looking for in the social data is how real you are, how trusted and connected you are, and the level of engagement or influence you have.

We might look at other elements like how often you are de-friended on Facebook or unfollowed on Twitter, he added. Those mechanisms could be a measure of trustworthiness.

The Lending Club, which is a peer-to-peer loan startup, uses social media to prevent identity fraud. They don't, however, use it to assess a customer's credit rating.

If somebody says they work at Boeing, and you can see at their LinkedIn page that they are between jobs, those kinds of things we look for, said Scott Sanborn, chief marketing officer at Lending Club. Our goal is acquiring creditworthy borrowers.

The agencies advise to choose online friends wisely. …

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