The Decision Maker

Paul Ablack

Recent Posts

Using Big Data to Move Beyond FICO and LTV for Loan Analytics

Posted by Paul Ablack on Dec 4, 2018 12:02:00 PM

The FICO score has a long and well-established history as a key metric in the determination of credit-worthiness. The FICO score has the power to influence whether a person can experience significant life events, like the purchase of their first car or home. Currently, it’s a major factor in credit union loan analytics.

However, as we rapidly enter the age of Big Data and loan analytics, does the FICO score utilize enough information to make an accurate determination of a borrower’s ability to pay? The wealth of data available to credit unions should augment their loan analytics.

A New Age of Loan Analytics

As I consider the future of credit unions, I believe the industry’s position on the significance of the FICO score in their underwriting process is an important issue. Is FICO a major determining factor, or is it merely one of many data points that can be used to predict probability of default for a given loan?

The mission of the credit union movement is to improve the lives of their members. While this is a very altruistic and admirable goal, it is only possible if credit unions can effectively assess and manage their loan portfolio risk. Current loan analytics strategies privilege the credit union over the member. At the end of the day, credit unions have a fiduciary responsibility to protect the assets entrusted to them by their members.

Credit unions are faced with delicately balancing two diametrically-opposed objectives when serving their members:

  1. Being more compassionate than the big banks when it comes to lending.
  2. Being “prudent,” as defined by NCUA guidelines, in their lending practices. For any loan application that is being processed by a credit union, the decision comes down to the FICO score and the Loan to Value (LTV), which is no different than the big banks.

Is there a better way to balance for loan analytics? The answer is a resounding, “yes.” Big Data and analytics is the new frontier for the retail lending industry.

If Others are Doing It…

Credit unions have access to volumes of internal data and the means to access external data. However, they lack the infrastructure and the culture to perform the loan analytics needed to improve their underwriting processes.

Expanded loan analytics platforms may have eluded credit unions, but others are leveraging more complete information. Lending Clubs are entering the retail lending market with lots of data (which credit unions also have) and loan analytics (an area where credit unions are behind the curve).

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Topics: Lending, Insight Platform, Big Data

Medtronic and Masimo agree to share de-identified patient data to improve patient safety; A lesson for the credit union industry

Posted by Paul Ablack on Nov 15, 2016 10:01:00 AM

In a Star Tribune article this week, “Medtronic agrees to share data in patient-safety effort”, we learned that “when it comes to patient safety, the leaders of the two companies are now sitting at the same table to discuss how they can share de-identified patient data with each other, as well as outside researchers and entrepreneurs, to predict health problems.”

The need to share data about patients and customers is hitting the mainstream as companies figure out that the pooling of this data is critical to the discovery of new insights that can help them develop better products that improve the lives of their customers. Competitors in many industries are realizing that they need to “get over themselves” and start figuring out ways to share this data for the greater good.

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Topics: Collaboration, Data Pool

Fintech Startups and Smartphone Adoption Drive Banks and Credit Unions to Innovate

Posted by Paul Ablack on Feb 25, 2016 11:00:00 AM

At the October 2015 Credit Union Big Data/Analytics Conference (now Analytics and Financial Innovation Conference) in Minneapolis, John Best, CEO of Best Innovation Group and a well-known technology innovator in the credit union industry, presented a compelling vision about the disruptive threat facing banks and credit unions right now:

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Topics: Credit Unions, Big Data, Data Analytics

How will you Avoid Getting “Ubered?” – Credit Union 2016 Strategic Planning

Posted by Paul Ablack on Sep 2, 2015 2:46:50 PM

As we enter the time of year when credit unions do their strategic planning, there needs to be recognition and a high sense of urgency around the fact that this industry is facing the "Perfect Storm" of Big Data, Analytics and technology that will change the landscape of retail financial services forever and that change will most likely happen within the next 3 years.

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Using Big Data & Analytics to Move Beyond FICO and LTV for Loan Decisions

Posted by Paul Ablack on Jun 24, 2015 11:30:00 AM

The FICO score has a long and well-established history as a key metric in the determination of credit-worthiness. The FICO score has the power to influence whether or not a person will be able to experience significant life events, like the purchase of their first car or their first home. However, as we rapidly enter the age of Big Data and Analytics, does the FICO score utilize enough information to make an accurate determination of a borrower’s ability to pay? As I consider the future of credit unions, I believe the industry’s position on the significance of the FICO score in their underwriting process is an important issue. Is FICO a major determining factor, or is it merely one of many data points that can be used to predict probability of default for a given loan?

Read More

Topics: Big Data, Data Analytics

Credit Union Industry Disruption: NACUSO 2015 – Part 2

Posted by Paul Ablack on Apr 27, 2015 12:43:00 PM

Last week in my blog, Credit Union Industry Disruption: NACUSO 2015 – Part 1, I talked about the pending threat of Big Bang Disruption in the financial services industry and the growing prominence of predictive analytics. In this second and final blog on the learnings from the NACUSO 2015 conference, I will cover what we learned about how credit unions can respond to Big Bang Disruption and the strategic importance of Predictive Analytics.

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Topics: Big Data, CUSO, Data Analytics

Credit Union Industry Disruption: NACUSO 2015 – Part 1

Posted by Paul Ablack on Apr 20, 2015 12:51:56 PM

I had the opportunity to attend NACUSO 2015 in Orlando last week. NACUSO is a great conference to interact with other thought leaders in the credit union industry to make valuable business connections. It is the essence of the “credit union movement”, a group of talented industry leaders looking for ways to collaborate to make the industry stronger.

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Topics: CUSO, Lending, Big Data, Data Analytics, Digital

What is the ROI of Big Data & Analytics for Credit Unions?

Posted by Paul Ablack on Apr 9, 2015 3:46:00 PM

Credit union leadership teams are increasingly realizing the “buzz” around Big Data & Analytics is real. However, there are two significant questions that get asked about this topic:

  1. Why should credit unions care about Big Data & Analytics?
  2. What is the ROI?
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Topics: Big Data, CUSO, Data Analytics

The Next Big Idea for the Credit Union Industry

Posted by Paul Ablack on Feb 23, 2015 11:11:57 AM

The credit union industry is on the cusp of significant challenges with the potential to disrupt the financial services landscape as we know it. Big Data and Analytics is driving a new breed of competitor into what has been a very traditional marketplace. The industry will need to envision and build out the “Next Big Idea” for credit unions to stay competitive and successfully navigate the next 10 years.

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Topics: Business Intelligence, Big Data, Credit Unions, Data Integration, Data Pool, CUSO, Analytic Data Model, Collaboration

The “Yin and Yang” of Credit Union Reporting/Analytics Software: 3 Factors to Consider

Posted by Paul Ablack on Jan 8, 2015 12:34:07 PM

As a veteran of the Business Intelligence (BI) industry, which is now being eclipsed by Big Data and Analytics, I have witnessed many organizations looking for the “perfect BI software”.

For at least a decade now, BI software companies have been striving for leadership in the coveted Gartner Magic Quadrant for Business Intelligence. The Magic Quadrant evaluates BI software vendors on two dimensions: (1) Completeness of Vision and (2) Ability To Execute. While these two dimensions do provide very good insight into the capabilities of each vendor’s product offering, they don’t tell the whole story.

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Topics: Reporting and Analytics, Data Integration, Analytic Data Model, Big Data