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Upstart Joins NCRC’s Innovation Council For Financial Inclusion

Upstart, a leading AI lending marketplace, is partnering with the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) and joining NCRC’s Innovation Council for Financial Inclusion. The Innovation Council (Council) is a forum to create collective action between the financial technology and grassroots communities to advance financial inclusion and opportunities for low-wealth households and people of color.

Financial inclusion is centered around the premise that all people should have access to safe and affordable financial products, irrespective of whether they belong to traditionally underserved or underrepresented communities. This is particularly important given the growth of financial innovations and the ever-changing financial landscape.

“As a community-focused organization, our priority is to ensure new technology responds to and addresses the challenges of existing systems,” said Jesse Van Tol, President and CEO of NCRC. “With over 10 years of training data, Upstart continues to push the envelope in AI-enabled lending, expanding access to credit with a steadfast commitment to platform responsibility and [regulatory] oversight in developing its AI models. We welcome Upstart’s voice and input as part of the Innovation Council and look forward to continuing our work with them.”

“Access to credit is crucial to our lives and the price of borrowing affects nearly all Americans every day. That’s why we work to use AI to reduce the risk and costs of lending for our bank and credit union partners, which in turn allows them to provide more affordable credit to more people,” said Dave Girouard, CEO of Upstart. “Roughly 43% of our borrowers on our platform are low and moderate-income (LMI) individuals and around 30% of loans go to LMI communities. Access to affordable and responsible credit is at the center of our technology and we are excited to work with the Council to promote innovative AI solutions that will expand access to credit to all Americans.”

In the course of the partnership, Upstart and NCRC are both committed to convening a broader conversation around fairness in lending, incorporating voices and perspectives across industry and civil society on how to expand access to credit through the responsible use of new technologies including artificial intelligence and machine learning.

The Council exchanges ideas, strategies, and information on a variety of topics, including artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data privacy. The Council often provides education and feedback to the Biden Administration, Congress and regulators related to financial technology issues and the work that members of the Council are doing to expand access to credit. Upstart joins a distinguished network of companies which make up the Council, including Block, Gusto, LendingClub, Oportun, PayPal, Varo Bank, and Zest AI.

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Redlining and Neighborhood Health

Before the pandemic devastated minority communities, banks and government officials starved them of capital.

Lower-income and minority neighborhoods that were intentionally cut off from lending and investment decades ago today suffer not only from reduced wealth and greater poverty, but from lower life expectancy and higher prevalence of chronic diseases that are risk factors for poor outcomes from COVID-19, a new study shows.

The new study, from the National Community Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC) with researchers from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee Joseph J. Zilber School of Public Health and the University of Richmond’s Digital Scholarship Lab, compared 1930’s maps of government-sanctioned lending discrimination zones with current census and public health data.

Table of Content

  • Executive Summary
  • Introduction
  • Redlining, the HOLC Maps and Segregation
  • Segregation, Public Health and COVID-19
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusion and Policy Recommendations
  • Citations
  • Appendix

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