Banking has always been a strong and stable pillar of society. However, the COVID-19 global pandemic forced the entire industry to focus on digital services amidst work from home orders in various parts of the globe.
Since the lockdown in early 2020, we have seen a 72% rise in the use of fintech apps in Europe and an exponential increase in cryptocurrency prices due to an influx of large scale institutional investors. With the need to find new and better solutions to cater to customers, the once sluggish rate of emerging tech adoption amongst banks has been flung into hyper-speed.
From artificial intelligence to blockchain, there is a new realm of possibilities that banks are now experimenting with. What does that mean for the future of banking? How will this unprecedented tech boost impact banking in the next ten years?
Will robotic bank tellers greet you at your local metaverse branch as you check your crypto balance in the next decade? Not quite, but here are some ideas of what can happen.
Artificial Intelligence will deliver value for the business
Artificial intelligence (AI) has long been a technology that shows great potential. However, over the past ten years, the financial services sector has faced challenges to move past applying it in isolated use cases and proof of concepts. Dennis de Reus, Head of AI at ABN AMRO, shares:
AI has more recently been breaking into established processes and delivering value for the business.
For example, here, AI is being used to increase the speed of responses in social channels. Currently, 30% of responses made by employees are AI based suggestions available to them as shortcuts.
ABN AMRO applies AI to a broad range of topics. For example, it’s working on AI to improve on their MIFID-II reporting. In terms of product-related applications, Tikkie’s cashback and deals proposition uses AI to scan receipts and detect fraud. Finally, with regards to client service, Natural Language Processing (NLP) is being used in various ways to better understand and serve the bank’s clients. One use case is automatically extracting information from documents that clients provide.
Today, AI’s value is largely still within the area of NLP because it’s useful in working with the older unstructured data and historic contact information that many financial services have. However, during the next wave of innovation, client interactions via voice and video channels will inevitably benefit from AI as the world shifts to digital and remote client interactions.
Specifically, personalization will be where AI can add real value to client interactions. Coupled with deeper insight into client needs, AI can enable a client to speak to a voice assistant over the phone. Assuming that clients consent to the processing of their financial data, the voice assistant will be able to handle a broad range of conversations on financial topics, fed by deep insights into a client’s financial situation.
Perry Koorevaar, Head of Platforms at ABN AMRO, agrees that personalization is a major trend and will continue for the next decade. Companies are continuing to tailor their offerings and communication to increase relevancy and connect with the “right” customers at the right moment. In the world of finance, the ability to target and personalize will be vital in acquiring customers as well as in building long term, mutually beneficial relationships.
Rather than keeping a large portfolio of different products that cater to various customer needs, financial institutions will tailor products on other dimensions of their offering e.g. in communication, advice, service concepts and even in risk-based pricing. AI will enable companies to shape their communication and sales interactions in real-time.
In practice, we might see a high level of ‘regulator approved’ AI powered decision engines or robots pro-actively managing financial matters on behalf of individual persons as well as technologically advanced interactions between customers and digital representatives of their banks in the form of voice-enabled bots.