Once upon a time, a customer looking for a loan would walk into their local bank branch. The branch manager might ask for some data to assess their creditworthiness, but the strength of a customer's handshake and their overall demeanor could be critical to the credit decision.
In the era of detailed financial histories and standardised credit scores, the "cut of your jib" approach of a branch manager came to be seen as archaic - but is now coming back in vogue.
Chinese financial services company Ping An has used facial recognition technology to make $72bn of loans to customers. Ping An looks for tiny changes in an applicants' facial expression which might indicate they are a credit risk. An uncertain flicker when asked what the funds are for might lead to a higher interest rate or a flat-out refusal.
Technology once accelerated credit decisions so that it became impossible to consider facial expressions. Having a face you can trust is becoming a valuable factor again.
Ping An Insurance Group is China’s largest insurer and one of its biggest financial conglomerates; the company has become a leader in facial recognition technology to verify identity and more recently to help assess risk when lending through their consumer finance company; loan approval times have dropped from 5 days on average to 2 hours; the company looks for what they categorize as micro expressions that can offer clues as to whether the applicant is telling the truth; for larger amounts an applicant has to complete a list of questions in a 10 – 15 minute video where they also analyze facial expressions during the answers; Ping An says they have made more than $72bn in loans with the help of facial recognition technology.