Brazil’s leading retailer to use Zest machine learning software to expand credit access for millions of Brazilian consumers
Los Angeles, July 11, 2019 - ZestFinance, a leading U.S. artificial intelligence software (AI) firm, today announced a partnership with Via Varejo to power the credit underwriting for its carnês point-of-sale microfinancing. Via Varejo, a pioneer in offering microfinance to its 60 million retail customers, will use Zest machine learning software to find more good borrowers and expand its lending business without adding risk. The investment will allow Via Varejo to leapfrog Brazil’s top banks with more advanced consumer lending technology.
The companies will begin testing the new AI credit model in the second half of 2019, and roll it out in early 2020. The partnership with Zest also extends to Banqi, a new, digital banking subsidiary of Via Varejo aimed at the 50 million Brazilian consumers who lack a traditional financial institution.
"The digitization of processes and payment options creates entirely new avenues for innovation in how we serve our customers,” says Felipe Negrao, Executive Director of Via Varejo. “More data and better analysis can ensure more accurate loan decisions. ZestFinance’s innovation through machine learning is exactly what we’ve been looking for, and will put us in a more competitive position.”
Currently, more than 5 million shoppers use Via Varejo’s carnês, a microfinance program that allows customers to make monthly payments on purchases. Via Varejo subsidiaries Casas Bahia and Pontofrio will use Zest ML to deliver a more precise credit decision immediately, safely expanding its revenue and reducing the risk of bad loans.
“We’ve proven that machine learning works in all types of credit and in every geography. Retail is an exciting new front for us. We’re looking forward to helping Via help millions of its customers,” says Zest CEO Douglas Merrill.
ZestFinance helps lenders use machine learning to develop and launch highly accurate and transparent credit risk models. Zest's software tools enable our clients to increase revenue, reduce risk, and ensure compliance. ZestFinance was founded in 2009 by Douglas Merrill, the former CIO of Google, and a team of former Google employees with the mission of making fair and transparent credit available to everyone. The company is headquartered in Los Angeles, California. For more information, visit www.ZestFinance.com.
About Via Varejo
Via Varejo is one of the largest consumer electronics retailers in Brazil and the world, responsible for operating physical stores and e-commerce sites under the Casas Bahia, Pontofrio, and Extra brands. Founded in 2010 as Globex Utilities SA and officially named Via Varejo SA in 2012, the company is present in more than 400 cities and 20 states and the Federal District, with about 1,000 physical stores, 26 distribution centers and about 50,000 employees across the country. In 2018, net sales reached R$ 26.9 billion. The company has traded on the BM & FBOVESPA since 2013.
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