Editor's picks: How AI is transforming banking

By Alex Hammond | 19 May 2017

1. The impact of AI on fintech's future

Alara Basul, Reporter, bobsguide

It’s clear that artificial intelligence (AI) is already one of the defining trends in fintech in 2017 and an increasingly popular buzz word in the industry.

Businesses are gradually understanding the importance and benefits of machine-learning technology. Self-made billionaire Mark Cuban has boldly claimed that the “the world’s first trillionaire will be an AI entrepreneur.” He goes on to say that faster computer processers and large data sets have the ability to push AI into a wealth of industries and services.

2. The top five ways that AI is transforming banking

Mohit Joshi, President & Head of Banking, Financial Services & Insurance (BFSI) at Infosys

There was a time when every neighbourhood bank in North America and Europe was acquired by or merged with a larger institution. By 2000, global mega-banks offered fewer choices to consumers looking for competitive interest rates and other services. But the too big to fail banks are now facing competition in the form of a resurgence of customer-friendly, local banks. There is an even bigger challenge: Technology companies have been applying for financial licences that would allow them to enter the digital payments space.

As traditional banks grapple with the challenges posed by fintech, legacy constraints and traditional operational models, artificial intelligence (AI) is emerging as the saviour. In a recent survey that Infosys commissioned on AI adoption across industries, 23% of the nearly 250 financial services sector respondents confirmed that AI technologies have been fully deployed in their organisations, and these are also delivering on high expectations; 47% of the respondents view AI as being fundamental to the success of the organisation's strategy.

3. Digital ID and verification in retail banking

David Poole, Business Development Director, MYPINPAD

Identity and verification are interlinked concepts which have a critical role in the continued digital evolution of retail banking.

From showing photographic ID to completing a transaction in person, to demonstrating proof of address when applying for a financial product, customer ID&V is something long-familiar in retail banking.

But these methods of identification and verification still rely on the presentation of a physical document, a practice which defies the nature of digital banking, and conflicts with its main benefits like convenience, speed and remote access.

4. How artificial intelligence can give challenger banks an edge

Anshuman Singh, Head of Digital Strategy & Consulting, Mindtree

Customer churn can provide great insights into what needs to change in business. In 2016, over a million customers switched their banks in the UK. With Current Account Switch Service in effect in UK, the pace of switching is making Current Accounts look a lot like Gas & Heating suppliers. By digging deeper into consumers’ reasons for changing banks, the primary determinant is poor customer service; closely followed by accessibility by 23 per cent of respondents, rewards (16%) and special offers (13%).

Collectively this is leading to a more competitive environment that favours the consumer. Customers who are leaving their current bank are clearly saying that they need more value from their banks: both in monetary and experiential terms.

5. Are intelligent contracts the ‘smarter’ way to work?

Kevin Gidney, Founder and Chief Technical Officer, Seal Softwar

Technology is an incredibly fast-paced environment which continuously presents new opportunities to combine methods and technology on an almost daily basis. One such combination is Narrow Artificial Intelligence for contract detection and extraction of information held within physical contracts. This is brought together with ‘smart contracts’, the encoding and execution of contractual data and events on a programmable blockchain, a technology solution which provides a public ledger of all the transactions on a network. A block is the 'current' part of a blockchain which records some or all of the recent transactions, and once completed goes into the blockchain as a permanent database.

Smart contracts may not fully deliver on all that is promised, as they face several technical limitations and challenges. The usefulness of the data or functions encoded, and how it gets accurately encoded onto the smart contract are often questioned.