Why Finastra took on algorithmic bias in finance for the greater good of humanity

By Awards Analyst | The Drum Awards

June 15, 2022 | 4 min read

Finastra and Silver Agency won in the B2B category at The Drum Awards for Marketing 2022 with its ’Open by Default’ project. Here, we find out more about what went into this successful campaign...

The accelerated use of AI in financial services has led to algorithmic bias in the sector and discrimination against certain demographics when applying for finance – a big issue, that for the good of humanity, needed to be addressed.

The brief

To lead industry-wide change, global fintech solutions company Finastra worked with the Silver Agency to develop an impactful multi-channel campaign to start righting discrimination against certain demographics.

To succeed, this campaign needed to engage people globally across financial services to acknowledge that a problem existed, and then to facilitate technologists to work together on a solution.

To start with, Silver needed to drive significant reach and awareness globally so people would sit up and listen. It then ensured mass participation, adoption and action to then build an army of advocates to ensure the movement kept pace.

The idea

Over the past 15 years, artificial intelligence (AI) has been introduced to financial services, with many decisions now being made by algorithms. Although a powerful tool, the industry’s rapid adoption of AI meant that the required checks and balances hadn’t always been included, resulting in algorithms being used that contain human biases found in society.

To understand the severity of the problem, Finastra commissioned KPMG to produce a report that reveals the sheer size of consumer lending markets and the impact of algorithmic bias.

The research, launched as part of the campaign, became the start of a movement entitled ‘Open by Default’ – a commitment by Finastra to drive change and further its long-held belief that the future of finance should be open.

Launched on International Women’s Day, the movement began with a multi-channel campaign and hackathon series to firstly drive awareness among the industry and, secondly, to invite and facilitate technologists from across the globe to pull together and work together, to rid their industry of this bias.

The algorithmic-bias-focused hackathon, Hack to the Future 3, was designed to support diversity in code development, with a wealth of prizes on offer for the most ingenious ideas. Silver also created a wealth of assets to enable Finastra to promote the subject matter via its own social channels and contact database, while using International Women’s Day as a platform for the launch.

And for the first time, authentic user-generated content and a paid campaign via TikTok was run to reach and engage a diverse global audience of up-and-coming technologists. Finastra was also able to onboard several alliance partners in support of this initiative and the hackathon specifically.

The results

The hackathon attracted over 600 registrations in more than 50 countries. The campaign picked up press interviews featuring Finastra executives on BBC World Services, The Fintech Times, Financial World and The Stack, as well as a further 31 pieces of international coverage.

Nearly 80% of the projects were led by women and the digital campaign drove 98,200 impressions, 11,900 video views and over 3,400 interactions.

This campaign was a winner at The Drum Awards for Marketing 2022. You can see all the winners here.

And check out which of The Drum Awards are currently open for entry.

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