AI to change financial services game

Published January 28, 2022, 11:27 AM

by Emmie V. Abadilla


Artificial intelligence (AI) could be a game changer in financial services because it can be used to develop customer-centric solutions in financial services, said Union Bank of the Philippines (UnionBank) Head of AI Center of Excellence Dr. Adrienne Heinrich.

“Besides looking at AI solutions for banking-specific features, we’re also looking at innovative solutions beyond banking,” Heinrich pointed out in a recent webinar with US-based data and AI services provider TripleBlind.

But first of all, “It’s very important to put the customer at the center, and UnionBank seeks to develop customer-centric AI solutions,” Dr. Heinrich noted.

Customer centricity is a vital component of banking and finance.

The customer-centric mindset enables banks and financial solutions providers to create more personalized products and services that address clients’ unique needs, stressed Union Bank’s Chief Data & AI Officer Dr. David Hardoon.

“Everything we do—when we buy a car, deal with insurance or healthcare, think of our future house— is substantiated on our finances,” he explained.

Hence, it’s important to have centricity to personalize and accommodate one’s need, Dr. Hardoon stressed.

However, “Customer centricity has to be done through collaboration, and that naturally leads to the multi-sectorial approach, providing more specific products, better solutions,” he maintained.

Solutions providers should consider value-adds for clients to enable them to have customer relationships in a more holistic way, Dr. Heinrich suggested.

This would assist clients in their areas of interest, in what they want or need to spend money for.

“We can actually see that this is really a customer need when looking at major topics in personal finance forums on the web. Less than 20 percent of the conversations actually mention banking products or services,” she observed.

So far, UnionBank has been exploring partnerships with external players in the industry and academia to provide more value for customers.

This will enable the bank to be fast with innovative advances.

She cited AI use cases in healthcare as an example, with a hypothetical use case where a bank can get access to a large pool of data of patients with certain chronic diseases.

“By running machine learning models on this data, we can give financial advice for the coming months and years to cover the cost for the treatments and have patients select their preferred life-enhancing products or services accordingly,” Dr. Heinrich elaborated.

“We can also enhance the data set with our own data of the customer, which can be shared back to the care provider, if the patient agrees.”