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Advances in credit scoring: combining performance and interpretation in kernel discriminant analysis. (English) Zbl 1414.62421

Summary: Due to the recent financial turmoil, a discussion in the banking sector about how to accomplish long term success, and how to follow an exhaustive and powerful strategy in credit scoring is being raised up. Recently, the significant theoretical advances in machine learning algorithms have pushed the application of kernel-based classifiers, producing very effective results. Unfortunately, such tools have an inability to provide an explanation, or comprehensible justification, for the solutions they supply. In this paper, we propose a new strategy to model credit scoring data, which exploits, indirectly, the classification power of the kernel machines into an operative field. A reconstruction process of the kernel classifier is performed via linear regression, if all predictors are numerical, or via a general linear model, if some or all predictors are categorical. The loss of performance, due to such approximation, is balanced by better interpretability for the end user, which is able to order, understand and to rank the influence of each category of the variables set in the prediction. An Italian bank case study has been illustrated and discussed; empirical results reveal a promising performance of the introduced strategy.

MSC:

62P05 Applications of statistics to actuarial sciences and financial mathematics
62H30 Classification and discrimination; cluster analysis (statistical aspects)
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