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Zest AI Joins NCRC’s Innovation Council for Financial Inclusion

Zest AI is the eighth tech company to join Council since its inception in 2019

Zest AI, a leader in software for AI-driven lending, has joined the National Community Reinvestment Coalition’s (NCRC) Innovation Council for Financial Inclusion. The Innovation Council is a forum to create collective action between the financial technology community and grassroots community leaders 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.

“Our AI-powered software helps our partners increase automation and safely approve more members for auto and personal loans – expanding access to the affordable credit that is central to strengthening lives through financial empowerment,” said Mike de Vere, CEO of Zest AI. “We’re honored to be recognized by the NCRC for our work in this space.”

“We welcome Zest AI to the council as we continue to pursue significant regulatory changes that will ensure more equitable decision making in lending algorithms,” said Jesse Van Tol, President and CEO of NCRC. “Their background and expertise will amplify our collective message and highlight the value of justice that both advocates and community leaders share.”

Council members exchange ideas, strategies, and information on a variety of topics, including artificial intelligence, machine learning, and data privacy. Most recently, Innovation Council members drafted a joint statement for guidance on the implementation of disparate impact rules under the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA).

Council members found a shared interest in encouraging a fair lending regulatory framework to address the risk of digital discrimination, while also promoting technology and data innovation that has the potential to increase financial inclusion and lower prices for consumers.

Other members of the NCRC Innovation Council include Gusto, Affirm, Lending Club, Oportun, PayPal, Square, and Varo Bank.

For more information about the Innovation Council, contact Sabrina Terry at STerry@ncrc.org. For media inquiries, please contact pro-zestai@prosek.com.

About Zest AI

Zest AI software helps lenders make better decisions and better loans—increasing revenue, reducing risk, and automating compliance. Since 2009, it has made fair and transparent credit available to

everyone and is now the leader in software for more inclusive underwriting. The company is headquartered in Los Angeles, California. Learn more at www.zest.ai and connect with us on Twitter at @Zest_AI or Zest AI’s Insights blog.

About NCRC

The National Community Reinvestment Coalition and its grassroots member organizations create opportunities for people to build wealth. We work with community leaders, policymakers, and financial institutions to champion fairness in banking, housing, and business. NCRC was formed in 1990 by national, regional, and local organizations to increase the flow of private capital into traditionally underserved communities. NCRC has grown into an association of more than 6oo community-based organizations in 42 states that promote access to basic banking services, affordable housing, entrepreneurship, job creation, and vibrant communities for America’s working families. More can be found at: www.ncrc.org.

Media contacts:

Alyssa Wiltse
NCRC
AWiltse@ncrc.org

Julie Strickland
Zest AI
pro-zestai@prosek.com

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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

Complete the form to download the full report: