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April 20, 2022

Zest AI Survey: 68% of Consumers Believe Racism is Present in US Financial Systems

LOS ANGELES, April 20, 2022 — Zest AI, a leader in AI-powered software for underwriting, today released a new study of over 1,000 consumers’ views on the financial and credit scoring systems in America.

More than two-thirds of those surveyed believe there is racism and bias present in our financial system and in our credit scoring system. The financial services industry has struggled for years to achieve more equitable outcomes in lending practices and, while many banks are realizing that legacy methods of measuring creditworthiness aren’t working, Zest AI’s survey findings suggest a persistent lack of consumer trust.

Survey Highlights

  • 68% of Americans believe the financial services industry at least sometimes treats customers differently based on race and gender.
  • Millennials feel particularly passionately about this, with 74% believing the financial services industry at least sometimes treats customers differently based on race and gender.
  • 40% of people overall believe racism is at least somewhat built into the credit scoring system, but that number jumps to 55% among millennials.
  • 41% of those surveyed either knew nothing at all about FICO’s scoring system and how each score is calculated or were not very familiar with it.
  • 55% of respondents believe the government should allow for more competition in credit scoring methods.

Consumers believe there is racism present in our financial system and our credit scoring system – but not at their particular bank.

Many consumers have a more positive outlook on their own bank than the financial system overall, with only 45% saying their bank at least sometimes treats people differently based on race and gender. Consumers tend to have a blind spot when it comes to their bank. While more than two-thirds of consumers believe the financial services industry treats customers differently based on race and gender, they feel better about their own bank. This holds true across age demographics, including Millennials.

“The apparent lack of transparency and trust in financial and credit-scoring systems underscores the importance of challenging legacy lending practices,” says Mike de Vere, CEO of Zest AI. “The disparate impact of unfair lending practices on consumers cannot be ignored, especially in the wake of Covid-19, and Zest AI is dedicated to securing the accuracy, transparency, and options consumers deserve.”

Survey Background

This survey was conducted on behalf of Zest AI by Toluna. The survey comprised more than 1,600 respondents across a variety of age demographics.

About Zest AI

Zest AI software helps lenders make better decisions and better loans—increasing approvals, reducing risk, and automating compliance. Since 2009, it has made fair and transparent credit available to everyone and is now the leader in software for more inclusive underwriting. The company is headquartered in Los Angeles, California. Learn more at

Source: Zest AI