In the midst of the economic recovery, many are looking to improve their credit scores from the widespread damage of the 2008 recession. Some financial firms are taking a stronger lead in assisting these individuals with consumer credit reports and alternative finance options. The New York Times recently reported that ZestFinance, a new iteration of a company that began in 2006, has been working to assist subprime lenders establish accurate credit ratings for potential clients. To do this, the company is using big data analytics that yield a more comprehensive view of poorer borrowers and the underbanked. "Our mission was to use big data to save the under-banked billions of dollars in high fees," Douglas Merrill, a co-founder of the company's predecessor ZestCash, told the source. "We think that will work better if we get our technology into the hands of established providers." The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation cites that about 9 million U.S. households - just under 8 percent of the national total - have no checking or savings accounts. Additionally, the FDIC notes 21 million households, or 17.9 percent of the total, are considered underbanked. These figures represent a large market for alternative finance and credit reporting industries to target as potential consumers.