Once upon a time, loans were made based on personal impressions and/or specific knowledge. As the population and the number of loans went up, a half-assed system of not especially accurate credit ratings developed. Even though they were apt to include inaccurate negative information (I don't know if they also have a tendency to be too positive) which is very hard to correct and even though no one knows all the premises they're based on, they're still commonly used because people are apt to assume that even bad information is better than nothing. And besides, it's numbers. You can trust numbers.
In the near future, not only will the population continue to grow, but a lot more people from a number of different cultures will be joining the world economy.
If you have a relatively monolithic culture and you're interested in status, you'll just know what clothing and accent indicates how you need to treat some people and how you can get away with treating others.
It could get more complicated rather quickly, especially since I'm expecting more than one major cultural center.
So, we get status ratings. They'll be even less accurate and more opaque than credit ratings, but at least you'll have a number to lean on.
I figured out years ago that life in the third world was going to improve, and I mean I saw it coming well before The World Is Flat came out. There will probably continue to be poor regions, but there aren't going to be poor continents.