Elizabeth Warren slams Goldman Sachs’ response to Apple Card gender bias accusations

Megan Henney for FOXBusiness:

U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) (photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) (photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Democratic presidential candidate Elizabeth Warren fired back at Goldman Sachs’ response to allegations of gender bias against women applying for the popular Apple Card, suggesting the company needs to either reveal details about the credit-limit algorithm or pull it down.

Goldman, which oversees the banking decisions on the iPhone maker’s credit card, responded to allegations of discrimination against women by the Apple Card by suggesting that customers who received lower-than-expected credit limits to request a second look at the decision.

“Yeah, great. So let’s just tell every woman in America, ‘You might have been discriminated against, on an unknown algorithm, it’s on you to telephone Goldman Sachs and tell them to straighten it out,'” Warren told Bloomberg News. “Sorry guys, that’s not how it works.”

MacDailyNews Take: Sorry, Elizabeth, that’s not how it works. Apple Card approval is not and has never been based on gender.

The Massachusetts senator, a frequent critic of Wall Street and a fierce consumer advocate, went on to say that while credit-limit decisions might be made by an algorithm, the system may still be flawed and ingrained with different biases.

MacDailyNews Take: Baseless conjecture on Twitter is not a valid criteria for publicly criticizing what you obviously do not understand.

You can’t wake a person who is pretending to be asleep. – Native American proverb

As we wrote earlier this week this has nothing to do with gender and everything to with Goldman only issuing individual accounts (which, of course, allowed family members to be assigned significantly different credit lines):

This is a case of Apple Card accounts being individual and independently evaluated. It has nothing whatsoever to do with gender or martial status or whatever nefarious claptrap the Twitterati concoct in order to work themselves up into a spittle-spewing lather, as they are so wont to do while cloistered inside their twisted outrage machine.

29 Comments

      1. What, have you heard something we didn’t? Did EW identify as a Brave?!?

        Okay, “That Brave needs to just crawl into his TeePee.”

        Can’t say “Redskin” as that apparently is a trigger to some. And the ever so white as snow EW has nothing red about her, other than her commie socialist leanings.

        Satisfied now?

        America 2019! smh

      2. Yes, Apologist. I’m sure they wouldn’t be triggered if somebody called their mother a “honky hoe.” Racist and sexist epithets are surely acceptable for everyone, or they are acceptable for no one.

  1. We’ll actually never know just what factors are in Goldman’s algorithm that determines credit limits unless they tell us. Sex and marital status per se may not be. But they do a hard check on a credit report. When you look at the application process for the Apple Card, there can’t be any other source of data unless they have some access to Apple data, which seems unlikely. Whether there is some bias in how the credit report itself is structured remains to be seen. We’ll probably never know unless Goldman at least reveals what factors they check. My wife and I have significantly different credit scores even though we are both authorized users on every single account we have and both our names are on any loans. I think it’s more likely that the bias, if there is any, is introduced by the credit bureaus. Now THERE’s a Black Box that deserves to be opened to let in the light of day.

  2. Everything is at play here, and it’s not new — it’s just been highlighted by this case.

    There is a difference between JOINT credit (applied for & authorized based on history/income/assets of both parties) and AUTHORIZED USERS (based on / belonging to one person and the other is fully authorized to use it). Being an authorized user on a card does not affect your credit score in the same way that being a joint owner of a credit account does.

    There may be some gender-correlated bias in credit scores, but it’s more likely due to the typical financial situation in heterosexual marriages.

    Has anyone yet suggested that unmarried women are being given lower Apple Card credit limits than men with similar assets/incomes? That would be telling.

    1. “it’s more likely due to the typical financial situation in heterosexual marriages.”

      That is part of the problem. The credit-assessment system is likely making assumptions based on “typical situations” rather than on individual credit-worthiness. It might be that a married couple use the husband’s card with the wife as an authorized user because of simple convenience, and not because the husband currently has a higher income or more assets. In a community-property state, the popular assumption that the husband has more resources is most likely incorrect.

      This is just another example of the reasoning that made redlining popular—the typical person in a given zip code isn’t safe for a home loan, so nobody in the neighborhood inside the red line will be given a loan, regardless of their individual ability to repay a loan. We see the same in police profiling. When there is an assumption that black men in mostly white neighborhoods are typically criminals, people get stopped for “walking while black” even when there is no individualized reason for the stop. Men are typically taller than women, but some women play center in the WNBA.

      It would be hard work (and expensive) for lenders like Goldman to employ human beings to make individualized credit decisions. It is a lot easier (and cheaper) to have a computer algorithm that uses heuristic rules to guide those decisions. The problem is that a generalized algorithm may contain all sorts of assumptions about “the typical financial situation” that do not apply to a particular applicant. In practice, errors of that sort that disadvantage rich white guys tend to get fixed, while those that disadvantage other people don’t. Our own unconscious bias kicks in and we don’t notice that there is anything odd going on.

  3. I like that Warren is so angry and challenges big companies and the tech industry for the good of the little people, but yeah, she shoots from the hip and speculates wildly about their transgressions. It’s almost as dangerous as Trumps rhetoric. The financial and tech industry have many good people and services. Condeming everyone and everything is irresponsible. Offensive, to say the least. She is polarizing and that’s not good for America.

    1. “It’s almost as dangerous as Trumps rhetoric.”

      Warren is in a league all her own and both her rhetoric and pipe dream proposals are dangerous and make President Trump look like a Boy Scout…

  4. I’m going on Twitter and screaming discrimination, because Apple won’t give me a card, because I don’t have an iPhone. I don’t have any phone. Wait, I don’t have a Twitter account, either. I’ve got three iPads and three Macs, though. Maybe I’ll just email Elizabeth to see if she can help me. Is she an antitruster? Surely this is an antitrust thing.

  5. Elizabeth Warren would be a great President. She helped Hugo Chavez design the current government and society in Venezuela, which Sean Penn and Michael Moore have put their seal of approval on. We can get all the excellent benefits of a Caribbean paradise if we elect Warren and let her bring Venezuela to us. It is already being beta tested in California.

    1. Ok, I just wasted considerable time searching for evidence of a link between Warren and Chavez. When he came to power in 1999, she was teaching bankruptcy and commercial law at the Harvard Law School (with the highest salary in the university because she was acknowledged to be the leading American expert on those subjects). You may think there is an ideological similarity, but what is your evidence that a leading expert on capitalist institutions personally helped design the failed socialist paradise?

        1. I think it might have had more to do with being one of the three law professors in America whose work was the most cited in law review articles and court opinions for five years running.

            1. No, I don’t approve of anybody lying. My point was that she didn’t need an edge to get the job. If she wasn’t the most qualified expert on bankruptcy and commercial law in the country, she was in the top three. Her publications from her time at Houston, UT, and Penn (and the influence they exercised over other experts in the field), proved that. Her objective accomplishments made her the most qualified applicant for the position at Harvard (or anywhere else for that matter), whether she was red, white, male, female, left, right, or whatever.

              Whether she was “lying about her heritage” is a complex issue that I have discussed before. I do not expect you to remember that, since you have slept since then. tl;dr

              To repeat, I do not support Elizabeth Warren for President, but I do support telling the truth about people instead of making stuff up and embellishing it with racist and sexist memes.

    2. The truth, Kent. Old ‘Bama also praised Hugo in his “book”, dreams of my pop, or some such thing. Anyway, NO, neither Apple nor Sachs used prejudice in deciding credit limits. Simply a matter of income. We are retired, and my income is much more than wife’s, so when we got our Apple Cards, of course I knew she would have a lower limit than me! Whew. These idiots playing on ignorant people’s emotions is sickening. But it’s happening more now than I’ve ever seen. The democrats are the worst. But all these jerk politicians and especially “news” media are the worst!!

  6. Find any Democrat who has criticized the government of Chavez. All of them celebrated it. She is a hard core socialist who believe the government actually owns everyones property and can arbitrarily take all you own away, if she can simply whip up a mob to decide you have too much. Same as Chavez or Castro or Lenin. How stupid are you TaxUser?

    1. Not stupid enough to think that answered my question. Even a cursory web search shows many occasions when Warren condemned the current regime in Venezuela. I couldn’t find any of her praising it. There is absolutely no evidence that she designed it.

      I am not fond of the Senator. I think we have better choices for President. However, I think she deserves to be judged by what she has actually said, not by unsubstantiated rumors, racist jokes, and raw sexism.

        1. It took all of five seconds to find this one:

          “A quick perusal of conservative outlets, from the Heritage Foundation to the National Review to Fox News, will find you a litany of articles likening a potential Sanders presidency to an economic implosion à la Venezuela. All other serious Democratic candidates have avoided and even explicitly denounced socialist policies. Elizabeth Warren, for instance, provided Trump with a standing ovation when he denounced socialism during his recent State of the Union Address, and she has described herself as a ‘capitalist to the bone.’”

          https://www.insidesources.com/counterpoint-bernie-sanders-anti-imperialism-and-venezuela-2/

          Again, I’m not supporting the woman, but she doesn’t deserve to be attacked for things that never happened.

  7. She is an idiot and, thankfully, unelectable. In her own way, this is worse than propagating fake news. Either she did not research or she is pandering votes of equally ignorant voters.

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