WHO DECIDES OPERATIONAL ETHICS? A knowledge-based system built for a commercial bank uses 17…
WHO DECIDES OPERATIONAL ETHICS?
A knowledge-based system built for a commercial bank uses 17 criteria to determine whether an applicant qualifies for a mortgage loan. For several years, the bank has been criticized by state auditors for not granting enough loans to minorities or to people living in minority districts. A review of the knowledge-based system also revealed that most mortgage loans favor applicants who are married rather than those who are single, separated, or divorced.
When the discriminating knowledge rules were pointed out, the knowledge developer said, “I developed this system based on the vice president of mortgage loan’s thought process. He reviewed several prototypes and approved the system. Why don’t you talk with him?” In addressing the equity question, the vice president replied, “I make decisions on mortgage loans based on guidelines from the board of directors. Our chairperson is a major stockholder and pretty much the owner of the bank. She does not live in the area and wants to make sure we make secured loans. Why don’t you talk to the president about it?”
In a meeting with the president the next day, the president said, “I’m surprised you’re bringing up bank policy. We paid for a knowledge-based system to comply with our requirements. So, what is the fuss all about?”
However, the question raised here still remains: Is the system unethical, illegal, or both?