NatWest taps IBM skills for generative AI

NatWest Bank is working with IBM to use generative AI (GenAI) to extend the capabilities of its virtual assistant.

GenAI technology will be used by the bank’s virtual assistant, Cora, to enable it to offer more information to its customers through conversations with them.

NatWest is tapping IBM’s data platform, as well as the IT giant’s Watson AI technology, to create Cora+ as part of its customer support.

The bank described this as a “digital concierge that evolves the Cora chatbot’s capability into a more interactive and conversational experience, where this benefits the customer”.

According to NatWest, it will improve accessibility and provide more human interaction for customers looking to compare products and services or trying to find information on the bank’s website.

Using Cora+, the virtual assistant will be able to access information from secure sources that were previously inaccessible through chat alone, such as products, services, information about the bank and career opportunities. Customers can ask questions and will receive responses in a more natural, conversational style, as well as links to the information requested.

Wendy Redshaw, chief digital information officer at NatWest, said: “Building on Cora’s success over the last five years, we’re working with companies like IBM to leverage the latest generative AI innovations that will help make Cora feel even more human and, most importantly, a trusted, safe and reliable digital partner for our customers.”

IBM’s Client Engineering team worked closely with NatWest’s business and technology teams to co-create, test and validate.

John Duignan, general manager of global financial services industry at IBM, said if banks implement generative AI in the right way, it will serve them and their customers well. “With the appropriate guardrails and governance in place ensuring that AI is open, trusted and targeted, banks can deliver an empowering value proposition enabling an even deeper level of customer loyalty.”

According recent research from IBM’s Institute for Business Value, over 40% of banking and financial markets leaders expect GenAI, deep learning and machine learning to help deliver financial results over the next three years.

Talent, security and customer experience were the main areas in which financial services leaders indicated interest in applying GenAI. Over half (54%) said applying it to improve customer care was one of their highest technology priorities, and 75% said the competitive advantage will go to the institutions that have the most advanced use of it.

A study from Accenture of nearly 5,000 senior executives across the globe earlier this year, When atoms meet bits: The foundations of our new reality, revealed that 98% of senior executives believe AI will spark significant creativity and innovation, and 95% said it will usher in a new era of enterprise intelligence.


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