Reblogged from npr.org – Alina Selyukh
In December 1912, financier John Pierpont "J.P." Morgan testified in Washington before the Bank and Currency Committee of the House of Representatives investigating Wall Street’s workings of the time. The fascinating record produced from the testimony called him the "uncrowned king of finance" and recounted this exchange between Morgan and the committee’s lawyer Samuel Untermyer:
Untermyer: "Is not commercial credit based primarily upon money or property?"
Morgan: "No, sir, the first thing is character."
Untermyer: "Before money or property?"
Morgan: "Before money or anything else. Money cannot buy it."
Further on, Morgan also produces this financial proverb material: "A man I do not trust could not get money from me on all the bonds in Christendom."
A century later, this memory has found new life in a growing number of stories about alternative ways of calculating credit scores, apparently promoted by the co-founder of a startup called Lenddo. It’s a modern-day iteration of the idea of character as a commercial value: companies going online to try to figure out your financial potential from posts and connections from Facebook, Twitter and, yes, LinkedIn (professional contacts there are "especially revealing of an applicant’s ‘character and capacity’ to repay," another creditworthiness start-up founder told the Economist, in 2013).
The latest wave of coverage comes from a story in the Financial Times about FICO, the credit scoring company, headlined: "Being ‘wasted’ on Facebook may damage your credit score."
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