WASHINGTON, D.C. — On January 4, MoreThanFair (MTF), a community of organizations dedicated to improving access to affordable and inclusive credit, met with U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator Isabella Casillas Guzman to discuss ways that innovation could support small businesses and increase lending opportunities. The MTF group also presented MTF’s vision of leveraging new data sources and artificial intelligence in a responsible manner to make lending fairer for all.
The Administrator stated that implementing new technology was the key to reaching businesses today and that the SBA is working to create programs that fully leverage technology to better serve and meet the needs of smaller businesses. Administrator Guzman also highlighted the SBA’s focus on enabling more mission-driven lending in communities that face extreme barriers accessing capital and reinforced the SBA’s commitment to lending programs supporting women and BIPOC business owners – issues that are at the core of MoreThanFair’s mission.
“It's a critical time as we're trying to drive forward on these changes, and, obviously, we need advocates to be able to speak out about the impact on our underserved communities,” Administrator Guzman said. “I welcome future conversations with you all and an opportunity to continue to track your work and see how we can achieve our joint mission.”
The MTF community highlighted the alignment with the mission and agreed to work constructively with the SBA on their agenda.
“We believe that we can grow the CDFI movement significantly, particularly for BIPOC communities, if we have algorithms that actually work for us,” said Gary Cunningham, CEO of Prosperity Now. “Modern technologies such as AI and data science that are already in use in other areas of the economy, can help address some of the unfair disparity in small-business lending and credit access.”
More than twenty executives from MTF member organizations attended the meeting and reiterated that the lending status quo is not meeting the needs of small-business owners. The MTF community is bringing diverse stakeholders together to review standards and inform policymakers while working to make lending more inclusive, more transparent, and fair for small businesses.
MoreThanFair is a community of organizations dedicated to improving access to affordable and inclusive credit for American consumers and small businesses. While access to credit hasn’t improved materially in several decades, we believe that modern technology and data science can now make lending more inclusive, more transparent, and more fair. Achieving that promise requires a collaborative effort by the private and public sector to ensure that models are properly supervised and rigorously tested under a well-understood framework. With a focused effort, real and lasting progress is possible. To learn more, visit morethanfair.com.