How can banks help customers manage money throughout their life? In the early days of the financial services industry, bankers knew their customers and could guide and advise them in person. Today’s digital models have taken away that personal connection.
Can we use technology to bring back that human touch? At many levels, artificial intelligence (AI) can be leveraged to bring back the more personal relationship. AI and machine learning can process a multitude of information about customers, conduct comparison analysis, and find suitable products and services that customers actually need. This essentially means finding what’s right for their individual and business clients and completing set-up steps based upon their consent.
Across the world, financial services firms are waking up to the possibilities that AI can open up for their business. Some banks, for instance, are actively using AI to reduce error rates, deliver personalised services to high net worth (HNI) customers and do real-time sentiment analysis. AI powered virtual assistants are also making waves.
Safety and trust
Cyber criminals are growing more dexterous and in numbers each passing year. A June 2014 report by software security provider McAfee estimates that cybercrime costs the global economy more than US$400bn annually; a figure that’s supported by insurer Lloyd’s of London’s chief executive officer (CEO) Inga Beale. Other than monetary damages, cybercrimes also make customers cagey and damage trust.
Financial services companies have now declared war on hackers with support from the “third” kind. Leading banks are investing millions of dollars in AI integration to offer security against fraud and theft and develop a sustained and honest relationship with their customers. Several popular banks already depend on AI to prioritise and prevent cyberattacks. Thought leaders in the industry are now investing heavily on AI research for developing advance solutions to tackle several issues, including cybercrimes.
Earning customer loyalty
The rise of digital-first banks has changed customer expectations. The complex banking model is under threat; yet complexities in the system are ever increasing. AI can be the means to staying competitive in this cutthroat environment. From using robots to greet customers, to providing voice banking or selfie-pay, to deploying robo-advisors, there is immense scope for AI to drive customer loyalty for banks. Large financial service organisations already use it to deliver personalised advice to wealthy clients and several others have invested in AI technology to answer complex financial questions posed by customers.
Organisations are depending on machines to replicate human decision-making, in areas such as financial service regulation and ticketing of IT issues. In some cases, AI adoption has resulted in an increase of up to 40% in productivity, saving customers millions of dollars annually.
How is AI helping bank employees? “By freeing employees from mundane tasks and making time for other important work,” according to the chief manager of one bank, where Nao, an AI assistant, is employed. From customer service and collaboration to being an effective digital assistant – AI further augments employee performance. Latest to join the bandwagon is another leading bank that has installed an AI assistant to help its staffers.
There are many reasons to welcome the next generation banking augmented by AI, which should be viewed as a help rather than a threat.
There has been an uptick of treasurers inquiring about interest rate risk management in recent months as interest rates in the US and UK have started to show a rise in momentum, said Chatham Financial at the annual Bellin treasury conference.
The global economy has seen about eight years of growth, but we are starting to see the end of this which is triggering some volatility in global markets, Stefan Bielmeier, DZ Bank, argued in his keynote speech at the Bellin annual 1TC conference. Other speakers discussed blockchain, cyber crime and netting.
A series of governments are now very worried about the idea of bitcoin and these currencies because customers would be able to make sustainable ongoing transactions and payments without having to ever introduce the use of a typical financial model or banking system. To combat this potential threat, several countries including major central banks like the Bank of England and the Bank of Israel will be launching their own version of a cryptocurrency. This could bring big advantages to customers.
Once there is KYC blockchain, the technology will be at the forefront of helping to identify those who present a greater risk of criminality, argues David Poltorak, chief technology officer at Fortytwo Data.