Could banks begin to use a person’s social network as an indicator of their creditworthiness? It’s not as far-fetched as it might seem, according to one financial technology expert.
“The old saying largely remains a truism. You are defined by the company you keep,” Gi Fernando told the Daily Mail.
Fernando, who sold his last start-up to Experian in 2011, launched Free:Formers, a digital training firm for banks among other businesses, a year later.
Fernando predicts that banks could begin to ask potential borrowers for access to their Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts as part of the underwriting process for mortgages, credit cards and other credit products because users with a stable social network would be seen as a lower risk than those with an unstable social network.
“You could easily have a scenario in 10 years where a customer’s chances of credit are determined not only on their spending, but also on their friends, family members and their social profile,” Fernando said. “By giving up a bit more information to the banks, you might stand to benefit in a wider choice of products.”
Fernando also predicts that those without a social media presence in some form would be penalized when applying for credit.
“We’re on the brink of some seismic changes in the way we all use money,” Fernando said.
He also predicts that the ways in which people interact with their banks is going to change.
“The bank of the future is going to be a lot more fun to engage with for customers than it is right now,” Fernando said.
"Banks are already looking at getting their advisors to their customers more directly. This is just a natural progression,” he added.
“The bigger branches can become versions of Apple’s Genius stores - stripped back, slicker and offering the kind of service customers can only dream of now. If you cut back on transactional costs, it means banks can offer more specialized advice on mortgages and investments to everyone, not just the privileged few.”