Improving Credit Risk Analysis with Psychometrics in Peru
Access to finance remains a challenge for some micro, small, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) in Peru, particularly informal enterprises with no borrowing history in the formal financial system. Lenders lack the tools to reach these borrowers with sufficient scale and control over risk due in part to the shortcomings of current screening technologies. For this paper, the authors carried out a pilot test of an innovative psychometric tool aimed at evaluating credit risk for business owners seeking a loan from Financiera Confianza, the fourth largest Empresa Financiera in Peru. Applicant responses were compared to self-reported sales, subsequent loan repayment performance, and credit bureau data to determine if psychometric-based credit scoring models could reduce the constraints on MSME finance. The authors created a scorecard based on that information using data from other countries and evaluated its effectiveness on this sample. It achieved a Gini coefficient of between 20 and 40 percent. Those MSMEs rejected by a psychometrically enhanced application scorecard with this Gini coefficient have a probability of defaulting that is up to four times greater than those accepted by the scorecard. Along with other policies to reduce information asymmetry in MSME lending, such a tool could help relieve constraints on MSME finance in Peru.