GWLN Members Learn How Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning Will Impact Financial Inclusion
Melissa Koide, CEO and Director of FinRegLab, shares insights at Global Women’s Leadership Network Luncheon at GAC
WASHINGTON, D.C.—The founder and CEO of a nonprofit innovation center that tests new technologies to drive the financial sector toward a more inclusive marketplace spoke Wednesday at the Global Women’s Leadership Network’s (GWLN) Luncheon at GAC about the way deep analytical research and modeling based on artificial intelligence and machine-learning is being applied to a handful of small, community-based U.S. financial institutions to determine the best approaches to consumer lending and risk management.
Melissa Koide, CEO and Director of FinRegLab, discussed that groundbreaking work in a fireside chat with World Council of Credit Unions’ (WOCCU) President and CEO Elissa McCarter LaBorde.
Koide said she gets a lot of questions about whether the modeling is fair and accurate.
“One of the things I like about the work we do in financial is services is that we have laws in place, especially in credit, that require that you have to understand how those models would direct their outcomes—this is for our protection notice requirements. And we have fair lending expectations, where you need to understand how people are being treated differently, according to the models you’re using,” said Koide, who’s resume includes a five-year stint as assistant deputy secretary for the U.S. Department of the Treasury (2012-2017).
Along with the work FinRegLab is doing in the U.S., the organization has recently expanded its reach internationally to Mexico and Kenya.
“Credit is an on-ramp, totally more than just simply filling income gaps, but really the opportunity for building small businesses, for having the resources you need to build your wealth opportunities,” said Koide. “If we can think about how that data gets fed into broader credit reporting ecosystems, well then you have better competition within your credit markets.”
Koide encouraged the women credit union leaders in attendance to engage with FinRegLab for their data needs.
An international women’s voice
Wednesday’s luncheon also featured an address by Triza Magreta, General Manager of Mudi SACCO in Malawi and leader of the Malawi GWLN Sister Society.
Magreta spoke about overcoming gender stereotypes and contempt from colleagues to become a transformational credit union executive.
“Then (when she became GM), the SACCO had one woman director on a board of seven. I had to lobby for more women on the board, and currently the board of seven has three ladies. The loan portfolio has grown by 1,876%,” said Magreta, who added that the membership at her SACCO has also grown by 463% during her tenure as GM.
She also credited the international credit union women she connected with through GWLN with her pursuit of further education. Magreta completed a master’s degree in financial management since joining the organization.
Still a long way to go
Global Women’s Leadership Network has engaged more than 4,900 individuals from 86 countries since its inception in 2009. Still, GWLN Director Eleni Giakoumopoulos pointed out the latest report on the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goal 5 (SDG5), which shows achieving full gender equality would take to close to 300 years at the current rate.
“The glass ceiling still remains intact. We still have work to do there. We’re improving in women getting more leadership roles both in the U.S. and internationally, but we still need to do more, said Giakoumopoulos.
The event closed with a recognition of all GWLN Sister Society Leaders. The GWLN Luncheon at GAC was sponsored by Co-op Solutions and PSCU.
World Council of Credit Unions is the global trade association and development platform for credit unions. World Council promotes the sustainable development of credit unions and other financial cooperatives around the world to empower people through access to high quality and affordable financial services. World Council advocates on behalf of the global credit union system before international organizations and works with national governments to improve legislation and regulation. Its technical assistance programs introduce new tools and technologies to strengthen credit unions' financial performance and increase their outreach.
World Council has implemented 300+ technical assistance programs in 90 countries. Worldwide, 87,914 credit unions in 118 countries serve 393 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at www.woccu.org.