Enabled by AI, Self-Service Is the Future of Banking

Guest post by Sudharshan Krishnan*, VP New Markets and Solutions, Personetics

Self-service banking is adapting to the digital age – though many customers believe that change isn’t coming fast enough. Here we look at the challenges banks face and how AI can be used to transform self-service banking.

Digital problem resolution is key to satisfaction and loyalty

A survey by Ath power consulting found that four in every five consumers prefer to conduct their banking via digital channels. Yet the firm also found that satisfaction with digital banking dropped significantly in the past year as customers began to expect more from their digital interactions. The latest J.D. Power report shows that unsuccessful problem resolution is highly correlated with this low level of satisfaction and high level of customer attrition. And while the branch has traditionally served as the go-to channel for handling problems, younger customers now prefer to resolve problems online or via social media.

Banks that take a more comprehensive digital approach are well positioned to increase satisfaction and fight off future customer attrition, but the payoff can be even more immediate in terms of reduced costs. According to Bain & Company, the top 25 US banks could save as much as $11.4 billion annually in aggregate by increasing digital interactions to the levels of some of their European counterparts.

Pillars of AI in Self-Service Banking: Conversational. Personal. Predictive.

By allowing customers to interact with the bank through natural language conversations, chatbots provide an intuitive channel for customer inquiries, facilitating user friendly interactions and delivering a better customer experience than the age-old FAQs and the dreaded IVR. While bank chatbots are still few and limited in functionality, over three quarters of all banks have active chatbot projects in place.

While the promise is great, a chatbot, just like a human banker, is only as good as the knowledge it possesses. To be helpful, a banking chatbot must understand the context of the bank’s services. Furthermore, it must understand the particular needs and situation of the customer, and incorporate this understanding into the conversation.

To truly delight customers, how about pre-empting them before a request is made? Better yet, how about alerting the customer in advance to avert potential problems altogether? A robust AI solution is predictive – monitoring a customer’s transactions and forecasting future cashflows to anticipate issues ahead of time – then prompting the customer with information, insight, and tips that can help eliminate fees and avert troublesome situations such as over drafting the account.

AI as an Augmentative Strategy

Implementations of AI-powered self-service at some of the world’s largest banks have shown that as many as 88% of incoming inquiries were resolved without requiring the help of a person.

However, as much as chatbots and AI can revolutionize self-service, they should not be viewed as a complete replacement for human bankers. A smart chatbot would know when the time is right to move the conversation to a human-led channel such as the call center or the branch.

There’s No Time to Waste

With practically every major bank getting ready to launch a chatbot solution, the bar for self-service banking is about to be raised once again. Financial institutions that fall behind in delivering new service capabilities will risk customer loyalty and face a cost disadvantage.

With that in mind, banks cannot afford to sit on the sideline or embark on multiyear transformative projects – the time to act is now.

*Sudharshan Krishnan is responsible for growing new markets and working with leading financial institutions to deliver Cognitive Financial Services Applications that are trusted by millions of customers – providing personalized guidance, conversational self-service, and automated money management programs.

Bill.com Wins New Partner and Strategic Investor in JP Morgan Chase

Business payments network Bill.com announced this week that JP Morgan Chase will leverage Bill.com’s technology to add an automated payment solution to its digital platform for businesses. The new solution is scheduled to be unveiled in 2018, and is designed to give businesses and easier and faster way to send invoices and get paid.

CEO of Commercial Banking for JP Morgan Chase, Doug Petno, called the partnership part of the bank’s drive to “deliver more value and functionality” to clients.  JP Morgan Chase Business Banking CEO Andrew Kresse added that teaming up with Bill.com would enable Chase to become what he called “the easiest bank to work with.” Kresse explained this meant “finding ways to help businesses move toward digital automation and quicker time to money.” He added, “this solution does just that.”

The new B2B solution is slated to reduce bill management time by up to 50%. Businesses will be able to send and receive electronic payments and invoices, electronically store and manage documents, and enable workers and customers to use efficient, digital workflows. The solution will be able to synch with other accounting platforms, removing the need for manual data entry. “Chase clients will be able to say goodbye to sending and receiving paper checks and hello to a new era of time and cost savings,” Bill.com CEO and founder Rene Lacerte said.

In addition to the integration, JP Morgan Chase has made a strategic investment in the Palo Alto, California-based company. The amount of the investment was not disclosed. But Bill.com is believed to have raised more than $159 million in funding. JP Morgan Chase joins Bank of America and Silicon Valley Bank, as well as Scale Venture Partners and Emergence Capital Partners among Bill.com’s investors.

Founded in 2006, California, Bill.com demonstrated its CashView solution at FinovateSpring 2012. The company has more than 2.5 million members in its networking sending and receiving more than $36 billion in payments each year. Partnered with four of the top 10 banks in the U.S. and more than half of the top 100 U.S. accounting firms, Bill.com teamed up with Commerce Bank in July to help FI launch its automated AR/AP service CashFlow Complete.  Also this summer Bill.com announced deeper integration with Intuit’s QuickBooks and a similar initiative with fellow Finovate alum, Expensify. The company began the year by forging a strategic partnership with Capital One – and Gusto – to help development financial management solutions for SMEs.

Join the Next Wave of InsurTech Innovators! Call for Demos at InsurTech Rising

InsurTech – if 2016 was all about the hype, this year is about where it’s delivering value.

The digital and business strategies of insurers are in closer alignment and InsurTechs continue to accelerate the industry’s transformation, connecting the old and new worlds. Partnerships between the big and small continue to multiply and the benefits of these symbiotic relationships begin to be felt, with some insurers on the road to change and some InsurTechs on the route to scale.

Yet a number of questions come to mind when thinking about the impact of InsurTech:

  • Are new tech-driven propositions really gaining traction in the market and, if so, where? Where should insurers place their bets?
  • If InsurTech has been largely product innovation focused to date, when can we expect disruptive business models to emerge, and what will they look like?
  • Where can we see InsurTechs taking on the less “sexy” areas of the value chain and creating value by transforming the core of insurance?

These are sure to be some of the big talking points at InsurTech Rising in October (16-18) when we bring together C-Level insurers and innovators to discuss the future of an industry at a turning point.

For InsurTechs with a solution that can deliver value and impact, InsurTech Rising is the platform to showcase your offering to an audience of 700+ insurance execs and investors. Apply now to stake your place among the next wave of InsurTech innovators.

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate.com

  • Bill.com Wins New Partner and Strategic Investor in JP Morgan Chase.

Around the web

  • Xceptor appoints former IHS Markit executive Todd Rudley as Sales Director for North America.
  • Gulf Coast Bank & Trust ($1.6 billion in assets) goes live with Banking Operating System from nCino.
  • Ohpen acquires core banking system implementation consulting company, FYNN Advice.
  • Appetite for Disruption podcast interviews Nvstr co-founders Patrick Aber and Bernard George.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.

Royal Bank Canada Leverages Personetics to Pilot New Automated Savings Service

Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), with the help of Personetics Cognitive Banking’s applications, will deliver two new services this autumn that provide AI-powered financial guidance and an automated savings programme through the bank’s mobile app, reports Antony Peyton of Banking Technology (Finovate’s sister publication).

The development follows on from last month, when RBC unveiled these two digital services: NOMI Insights and NOMI Find & Save.

Based on predictive analysis of individual behavior and spending patterns, Personetics said its solutions enable RBC to provide clients with personalized insight and advice for day-to-day money management.

Examples of insights include identifying unusual transactions which may require action, automatically issuing reminders based on past activity, and predicting potential issues.

Personetics is headquartered in New York and was founded in 2011. It also has offices in London and Tel Aviv. The company demonstrated its Personetics Anywhere chatbot solution for the financial services industry at FinovateFall 2016.

Live Demos and Deep Dives: FinovateFall Takes to Twitter

Image courtesy Jenna Bascom Photography

FinovateFall 2017 is in the books! And if the initial reports are any indication, our new, expanded, four-day format was a great addition to the fintech conference landscape. Two days of live demos followed by two days of deep dives into some of the most critical issues in our industry created a unique, exhilarating experience for all involved.

The enthusiasm for FinovateFall 2017 came through loud and clear on Twitter. Whether tweeting about favorite candidates for our Best of Show award or retweeting insights from our keynote speakers and panelists, our followers on Twitter made sure that #Finovate was a fun and informative place for “grizzled fintech professionals” and newcomers alike.

So here’s a sample at what our #Finovate community on Twitter had to say over the four days of FinovateFall 2017. And remember to follow us @Finovate!






Aleksandra Gren of Fiserv Advises ‘Teach STEM From an Early Age’ for Equality in Fintech

This article was first published on FinTech Futures on July 11th 2017.

Aleksandra Gren chats to us about her focus on making a success story out of fintech around the world. Today, she is Strategic Sales, Country Manager at Fiserv and Fortune Most Powerful Women US Mentoring Program Alumna. How does she think the fintech space will adapt as a more gender-equal environment, and how should we promote women in tech?

How did you start your career?

I started my career in banking at 23 after I graduated from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, with a degree in international relations. As I quickly realized that technology has a huge role in how things are run in the world of banking, I joined a fast growing U.S. technology company expanding its outreach in Europe and the Middle East. There, I saw first hand the continuing fusion of banking and technology in a number of economies around the world.

What sparked your interest in fintech?

From my experience of working in various countries, I saw how similar the challenges in banking were when it came to technology. In the mid-90s, technology and business departments within a typical bank didn’t talk to each other. As consumer-originated technologies started affecting the enterprise sector, business and technology began to realize how they need each other to be successful. Today most financial services’ CEOs acknowledge that running a bank is like running a big technology company which happens to be in banking. 

What was your lightbulb moment?

I don’t think there was necessarily a “lightbulb moment”. Different regions around the world embraced change differently. For example, some banks in Asia and Central Europe benefitted from the leap frogging effect and went from very little computerization in early 90s, straight to full digitization today. They skipped cheques, implemented instant payments, and designed new business models by leveraging the newest technologies from the start. The technology journey for banks in the developed economies of Western Europe and North America has been more evolutionary.

What inspires you?

People are my biggest inspiration. I believe strongly in the power of the individual. We as individuals are not powerless; people on their own can do great things and make positive changes in the world, even if it is through small steps. I was always inspired by personal stories of great leaders and very early on developed a belief that every person matters and can contribute. I always believed that it is important to motivate people to tap into their inner potential. In my opinion, the key measure of leadership is how effectively the leader is able to build talent around them. Do they listen to the people closest to the battle field, who test management’s strategies first hand? For me the biggest source of insights are always conversations with the front-line people in any business.

Why is the #WomenInTech movement important?

With the onset of artificial intelligence, bots and virtual reality, we are witnessing a shortage of data science skills. Various sources refer to vacancies counted into millions in the data science fields around the world by 2020. It is important that STEM skills are taught from a very young age and that STEM becomes a key priority for domestic digital agendas. For me, the #WomenInTech movement is very important as women represent 50% of society. They have extra responsibilities assigned to their roles, which should mean more investment, more recognition, and more support at a state and corporate level. The #WomenInTech awareness and programs also have the power to capture the mindset of young girls before college years. Women need to be taught the STEM skills needed at primary school, as it will help them to perform in future digital industries and succeed in the workplace. There are certainly some excellent schemes out there at the moment, but we still have a little way to go to capture girl’s imaginations at a very young age.

What piece of advice would you give women starting their careers in fintech?

Always keep learning: from people around you, the industry and changes in technology. Stay curious and open minded. It is important for women to step outside of their comfort zone and keep pushing for more.  Take a computer course, learn to code, do something you wouldn’t normally do. I would also say that women need to believe in themselves and know that their voice matters and that can drive innovation and change in the industry.

Throughout the year we will be profiling women in fintech, not simply to celebrate their success but also to hear what has worked for them during the course of their careers. Click here to read more inspirational stories from fintech’s leading women >>

Finovate Alumni News

On Finovate

  • Royal Bank Canada Leverages Personetics to Pilot New Automated Savings Service.
  • Live Demos and Deep Dives: FinovateFall Takes to Twitter.

Around the web

  • Baker Hill teams up with BOLTS Technologies to provide streamline account opening.
  • Jack Henry & Associates again named to 2017 IDC Financial Insights FinTech 100 Ranking.
  • Insuritas hires former credit union CEO, Rose Ann Lambert, as EVP of Corporate Sales.
  • CREALOGIX notes growth in international sales in release of 2016/2017 financial year results.
  • TickSmith adds fintech veteran Mark Rodrigues to its board of directors.
  • Texas-based Amplify Credit Union ($870 million in assets) to deploy Fiserv’s DNA platform.

This post will be updated throughout the day as news and developments emerge. You can also follow all the alumni news headlines on the Finovate Twitter account.


Fenergo Helps Santander Enhance Customer Onboarding Experience

Client lifecycle management (CLM) software vendor Fenergo has landed a deal with Santander Global Corporate Banking to revamp its client onboarding process, reports Tanya Andreasyan of Banking Technology (Finovate’s sister publication).

Fenergo CLM will be rolled out to Santander’s operations in Europe, Asia, and the Americas, across multiple business lines. The first site will be in the UK, the vendor said.

“We selected Fenergo CLM as part of a global internal transformation and re-organisation programme,” explained José Muñoz, global head of operations at Santander Global Corporate Banking.

The programme, he said, is “designed to streamline processes and integrate once disparate systems to create a single source of client data and a seamless and well-orchestrated client onboarding journey”.

Fenergo CEO Marc Murphy demonstrating new customer onboarding and account opening technology at FinovateEurope 2012.

Fenergo said its “enterprise platform” can do just that as it supports “the end-to-end client lifecycle journey from initial client onboarding to KYC/AML and regulatory compliance, to client data/documentation management and regular and event-driven KYC reviews & remediation, all the way through to client off boarding”. It is suitable for corporate, investment, and private banks.

“For us, it’s about making the technology work to generate greater ROI (return on investment) and improved TCO (total cost of ownership),” stated Fenergo CEO Marc Murphy.

The company showcased some stats to support this statement, saying that by automating the CLM process, its technology enables banks to:

  • onboard clients up to 82% faster than a manual process and improve time to revenue by up to 40%;
  • reduce the cost of onboarding by up to 93% and enable banks to onboard double the number of clients;
  • reduce TCO for compliance and KYC reviews by up to 60%.

Founded in 2009 and headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, Fenergo demonstrated its Deal Manager onboarding and account opening solution at FinovateEurope 2012. The company has raised more than $80 million in funding, and includes Ulster Bank Diageo Venture Fund, Investec, Insight Venture Partners, and Aquiline Capital Partners among its investors.