There is a new organization in Hong Cong that lends money to individuals and small businesses in emerging markets. The service is for people who don’t have access to credit. The company is analyzing data from social networks to help measure creditworthiness. Can you imagine the opportunity for mayhem if this concept is a roaring success and lenders universally adopt it as standard?
I guess you’d meet your loan officer on Skype. That might not be too bad with enough security and privacy, but then comes the fun part – when the lender checks out your social connections. Wow, can you imagine the potential for fall out with this setup.
What if your interests on Pinterest are too lowbrow to be creditworthy? Are you a credit dud if you shop at Big Lots instead of West Elm?
Does the lender poke your “friends” on Facebook to contact them? Think of the power a passive/aggressive Facebook frenemy could have to screw up your life. It would snow in hell before they would delete the photos of you doing jello shots at the Horny Toad biker bar. What if your credit score is lowered based on too few “likes” on your comments in Facebook? Does the lender “unfriend” you if they deny the loan?
Maybe your LinkedIn connections don’t jive with the information you put on your credit application or even worse, they have a speckled career path. Can a lender tell if you are too cheap to pay for the premium LinkedIn? What if all of your connections opt for the freebie too. The lender may believe you are all a bunch of free loaders.
What about people you borrowed money from and conveniently forgot to repay? Would they be checking online to see if you got the loan and then show up on your doorstep? If the folks you promised to repay when you receive the loan outnumber the amount of money, you may have to go into the witness protection program.
I was fired for refusing to permit a “mode of living” check as part of an “updated” background check. Mode of living information is obtained through personal interviews with neighbors, friends, or associates. Nutty neighbors or former coworkers can say anything they like and there is no way for you to know. The entire process was too subjective. This new loan set up sounds as though it has the potential to smell as bad as a mode of living report.
I think I’m going to check out Bitcoin and avoid getting credit anywhere. I wonder if Macy’s accepts them?