These are times that try bank balance sheets - and test their credit scoring abilities. But adapting to new economic realities can be difficult if the scoring formulas are hard-wired into a legacy database system.

To make it easier, faster and cheaper to create custom scorecards, Dallas-based GDS Link, LLC has come out with DataView360, which uses Web services instead of traditional software, deploys quickly - and costs as little as a tenth of traditional scorecard systems.

According to a GDS Link survey of 100 banks conducted in May and June of 2008, 71 percent used reports from the bureaus instead of doing their own custom scoring - but only 22 percent of the banks were satisfied with these generic scores.

DataView360 takes just a couple of weeks to configure and a couple of days to install-rather than the six to twelve months of traditional deployments, says GDS president and founder Paul Greenwood. And further changes take place within the system's easy-to-use interface.

"It changes the dynamics of what was traditionally a very hard process to do-custom scoring," says Greenwood. "You no longer have to rely on your IT group. The business analyst or credit risk manager is able to control this with his desktop."

That's been the experience of Craig Johnson, director of portfolio management of Sioux Falls-based Meta Payment Systems, a division of Iowa's MetaBank.

"As a matter of fact, the person at Meta who controls that is myself," he says. "I can go in and change the score cutoffs. It's very simple to do - it takes no programming experience at all."

Meta configured the system to combine the results of two different custom score cards, he says. Now he can go in and, for each combination of scores from the two scorecards, change the approval decision, the credit line granted, and the cutoff points for the two scores.

The company, which previously focused primarily on prepaid cards, plans to use this for a new program for small-balance personal loans. Meta expects to see hundreds of thousands of applications come in over the course of a couple of months, according to Johnson.

Other vendors in this space are also moving toward Web services, says TowerGroup analyst Bobbie Britting, but not everyone is there yet. "It's a mixed bag," she says.

But there's nothing at all wrong with a credit scoring technology that's better, faster, and cheaper.

"What lenders need to be able to do is condense the data acquisition and analysis process and timeframes, finding shifting patterns in consumer behavior and create new custom scores," Britting says.

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