Masthead CMC Magazine / February 1, 1996
  Information Technology Systems as Publics, by John Monberg

Universal Standards of Rationality and Objectivity vs. Particular Standards

Electronic banking promises the fast, efficient processing of loan applications. Face-to-face meetings between applicants and lenders are no longer necessary. Relevant aspects of a potential borrowers financial history are captured, codified, and boiled down to a single number, a process known as credit scoring. John Hemsschoot, director of mortgage standards at Freddie Mac, federal mortgage agency calls credit scoring "an objective, unbiased, consistent tool." But these systems are inherently discriminatory, the factors making up the measure favor white, middle class, male borrowers, such as assets built up over time, tenure in current jobs, residence in an area of high income. Credit scoring has been described as a weapon.

As it stands, borrowers may meet with bankers, correct mistaken information, show additional evidence of credit-worthiness, and explain inconsistencies. As branches close, these meetings and talks will not be possible. I want to emphasize here how meaningful communication comes to be replaced by systems outside of language. These systems are understood as features of the environment, outside of the understanding, creation or change of human agents. --

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