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In 2013 Standard Bank reportedly was conducting trials of the use of psychometric testing of SME loan applicants in some pilot markets, particularly some small African countries, to determine if this might be a more accurate way to assess those loan applications.

Psychometrics is the measure of mental traits, abilities and processes and is being commonly used in recruitment to assess a candidates ability to meet the requirements of a role. If we now have the confidence to use such testing for employing people (although it is commonly only an input into employment decisions and not the sole category for approval or rejection) why not also be using the technique for credit assessment?

It is not known how the pilot program has been going as this is proprietary to Standard Bank.

An inclusion of psychometric assessment would seem to indicate a desire to keep exploring means by which to improve analysis (not necessarily dropping any existing tried and effective methods) in part for cost reduction purposes.

This willingness to explore options, coupled with the complexities involved already in credit assessment plus the far greater complexities of psychometric assessment, lead me to suspect a desire to develop outcomes justifiable with science and its bed mate mathematics, worthy and potentially globally beneficial outcomes.

Therefore, such a study would benefit from the rigour of independent scientific research in joint venture with the/a lender and this does not appear to be the case with the current trial. I understand the competition aspects for the lender, but that advantage would be short-lived anyway. It could be a very positive line of research to assist SME borrowers (in a small but important way).

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