Subagging for credit scoring models

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The logistic regression framework has been for long time the most used statistical method when assessing customer credit risk. Recently, a more pragmatic approach has been adopted, where the first issue is credit risk prediction, instead of explanation. In this context, several classification techniques have been shown to perform well on credit scoring, such as support vector machines among others. While the investigation of better classifiers is an important research topic, the specific methodology chosen in real world applications has to deal with the challenges arising from the real world data collected in the industry. Such data are often highly unbalanced, part of the information can be missing and some common hypotheses, such as the i.i.d. one, can be violated. In this paper we present a case study based on a sample of IBM Italian customers, which presents all the challenges mentioned above. The main objective is to build and validate robust models, able to handle missing information, class unbalancedness and non-iid data points. We define a missing data imputation method and propose the use of an ensemble classification technique, subagging, particularly suitable for highly unbalanced data, such as credit scoring data. Both the imputation and subagging steps are embedded in a customized cross-validation loop, which handles dependencies between different credit requests. The methodology has been applied using several classifiers (kernel support vector machines, nearest neighbors, decision trees, Adaboost) and their subagged versions. The use of subagging improves the performance of the base classifier and we will show that subagging decision trees achieve better performance, still keeping the model simple and reasonably interpretable. © 2009 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


01 Mar 2010