After finding out that criminal attorneys and divorce lawyers are using social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter to find out information for and about clients, it shouldn't be any surprise that banks are doing the same thing.
"Companies like RapLeaf of San Francisco have been quietly gathering information you post publicly on sites like Twitter, Facebook and MySpace," according to a piece by Channel 7 KGO Television, in San Francisco. "RapLeaf has now created "social profiles" on 387 million unwitting consumers and sold them to lots of companies, including banks."
The piece went on to note that RapLeaf spokesman Joel Jewitt said banks use the information solely for marketing and not to determine your credit risk.
Using the same sort of traffic analysis that let an experimental Massachusetts Institute of Technology program figure out which men were gay, RapLeaf technology also looks at your friends, under the theory that groups of friends behave alike, though Jewitt assured the television station that deadbeat friends wouldn't be held against you.
However, the television station found only one lender -- The Lending Club, a peer-to-peer lender based in Redwood City, Calif. -- that said it used social media to help make its decisions. Bank of America would not comment, and Chase, Wells Fargo, Citibank and Capital One all said they do not use social profiles for any purpose. In fact, by doing so, lenders could be running too high a risk of violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act, according to an article in Smart Money.