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 JFRM  Vol.9 No.3 , September 2020
Does Psychometric Testing in Microfinance Actually Work?—The Case of Sogesol
Abstract: Psychometric testing is claimed to be a powerful innovation in credit scoring. Pioneered by the Entrepreneurial Financial Lab (EFL), this technique would enhance credit decisions by screening out high-risk applicants. This paper aims to evaluate the predictive power of the EFL’s psychometric credit scoring model in microfinance through evidence from Sogesol, a Haitian microfinance institution. This evaluation has been conducted at two different levels: 1) A sample of clients has been selected from Sogesol’s database to carry out a back test of the EFL tool, using performance metrics such as the Kolmogorov-Smirnov (K-S) statistic, the area under the ROC curve (AUC) in comparison with the existing socio-demographic model in use at Sogesol; 2) We conduct an analysis of causality between the quality of the portfolio and the credit decisions made based on the EFL tool and/or the traditional credit scoring model through the estimation of a linear regression model. The results show that the psychometric credit scoring model would present low predictive power in terms of K-S and AUC. However, the EFL tool would outperform the socio-demographic credit scoring model in use at Sogesol. The study further indicates that there would not be any statistically significant relationship between the risk level and the decision of granting a loan or not. The paper concludes that psychometric testing in its original format would not be efficient in the context of Sogesol’s microcredit operations. Thus, the paper develops a new credit scoring model along traditional socio-economic and behavioral lines, using logistic regression. This new model presents a better discriminatory power than the EFL tool, regarding K-S and AUC. In addition, it is well-calibrated, considering the results of Hosmer-Lemeshow (HL) test and the Brier score. If properly maintained and integrated into the client selection process, this new model could significantly improve credit risk management practices at Sogesol.
Cite this paper: Sifrain, R. (2020) Does Psychometric Testing in Microfinance Actually Work?—The Case of Sogesol. Journal of Financial Risk Management, 9, 278-313. doi: 10.4236/jfrm.2020.93016.
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