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Climb Credit Taps Zest AI To Increase Student Loan Access And Inclusivity

Zest AI team

April 27, 2021

Zest AI, a leader in software for credit underwriting, today announced that it has entered into a partnership with Climb Credit, a lender committed to a more efficient and inclusive way to fund education. Climb is using Zest's Model Management System to power its student lending credit model and further enhance accuracy and fairness. The Zest-built model's ability to improve accuracy can generate higher approval rates (by nearly 20% based on Zest's prior consumer lending experiences), while further minimizing the impact of credit bureau data known to correlate with race, gender, and ethnicity.

"By employing Zest's software that enhances fairness and accuracy in lending, we can offer more people opportunities at training programs and schools that have a demonstrated ability to advance career and income potential."

Climb's mission is to create lending and payment solutions that improve access for all Americans to attain professional and skills-based education focused on improved career opportunities. It helps people finance career-advancing education with proven returns, such as select trade schools and software development bootcamps. Building on its prior underwriting model that performed well above industry benchmarks in terms of fairness, Climb will use Zest's software to process credit bureau data in order to re-weight certain factors to drive enhanced accuracy and fairness. The model reduces disparate impact when compared to traditional credit scoring methods by reducing the weight of some credit bureau data points known to correlate with protected class characteristics.

"We're committed to answering the calls of many for increased transparency, fairness, and inclusion in the student lending space. " said Angela Ceresnie, CEO of Climb. "By employing Zest's software that enhances fairness and accuracy in lending, we can offer more people opportunities at training programs and schools that have a demonstrated ability to advance career and income potential. This is another important step in our commitment to fairness, fair lending testing, and compliance."

"Profitability and fair lending are not mutually exclusive," said Mike de Vere, CEO of Zest AI. "The real benefit of machine learning is in safely widening the credit box for more Americans. Lenders can grow faster and consumers get a real leg up in society. We're proud to support innovators like Climb that are providing opportunity for Americans of all backgrounds."

Climb's students report an average graduation rate of 94% and the median salary increase of over 70%.

Lenders using Zest models have seen, on average, a 15% increase in approval rates with no added risk or 30% reductions in charge-off rates with constant approvals.

About Zest AI

Zest AI makes the power of machine learning safe to use in credit underwriting. Lenders using Zest AI software make better decisions and better loans—increasing revenue, reducing risk, and automating compliance. Zest AI was founded in 2009 with the mission of making fair and transparent credit available to everyone. Learn more at and connect with us on Twitter @Zest_AI or our Insights blog.

About Climb Credit
Climb is an innovative student payment platform that makes career creation and transformation more accessible, affordable, and accountable than ever before. Driven by a mission to empower individuals to unlock their career potential – no matter what their credit profile – Climb identifies programs and schools with a demonstrated ability to improve the earnings of their graduates. Then they provide learners with financing options that are priced and structured to meet the unique needs of those seeking career elevation and increased earning power. Recognizing the dynamic and diverse nature of an economy in rapid change, Climb partners with schools that teach everything from cybersecurity to healthcare training, heavy machine operation to data science, and culinary arts to coding. While some colleges are struggling to meet the real-world needs of their students, Climb and its partner schools are committed to an inspiring practicality that brings real career results as individuals Own Their Next chapter. For more information, visit https// or follow @ClimbCredit on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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