Banks can improve revenues by more than 30 percent, and it starts with training

If banks want to stay relevant with AI, they'd have to invest in their people.
7 May 2018

Banks will need to invest in their staff if they want to stay ahead in the game with AI. Source: Pexels

Artificial Intelligence is affecting every industry and banking is no different. In fact, banks can easily boost revenues by 34 percent with AI.

The one reason why banking operations aren’t relying on AI, isn’t because of the unwillingness to adapt to change. Rather, the industry lacks the right talent to drive that change.

However, if banks are to ramp up any efforts in AI, they will have to invest in training their workforce.

According to an Accenture report, more than three-quarters of bank executives recognize that implementing AI is critical for their businesses to remain competitive.

Over a third of them believe every innovation implemented in the next three years will be powered by AI.

“As AI becomes more nuanced, its role in banks is moving beyond automation to elevating human capabilities,” said Alan McIntyre, a senior managing director at Accenture and head of the company’s Banking practice.

“To benefit from the potential of AI, banks need to implement ‘applied intelligence’ – combining technology and human ingenuity – across all areas of their core business,” added McIntyre.

Here is where the disparity lies. The same executives think that most of their employees are not ready to work with AI. In fact, most of them believe that a growing skill gap is the main reason for a slow AI deployment.

Yet, only 3 percent of executives are planning to increase investments in reskilling workers in the next three years.

“Banks’ lack of commitment to upskilling and reskilling employees to learn how to collaborate with intelligent technologies will significantly hinder their ability to deploy and benefit from them,” McIntyre explained.

Here are other findings of the report:

Source: Accenture

As highlighted in the infographic, bank employees actually have a positive attitude towards AI.

More than half of them expect intelligent technologies to create more work opportunities. Accenture’s figures back that expectation, predicting that employment levels can increase by 14 percent with the input of AI.

Many banks are already implementing AI into their operations. In the UK, Lloyds and HSBC are looking to use AI in their anti-fraud operations. In the US, JPMorgan Chase built a platform to analyze and extract data from legal documents.

Wells Fargo, on the other hand, has opted to use it for customer-facing function. It’s piloting an AI-driven chatbot through Facebook Messenger.

Similarly, Barclays UK rolled out banking operations powered by Apple’s virtual assistant Siri.

Implementation of AI is currently being used to cut down on mundane tasks, such as sieve through documents, answer common questions, or perform standard transactions.

With further development, AI will be able to improve accuracy in areas where there is a human limitation, such as looking for patterns to identify possible fraud.

Having said that, AI cannot totally automate all the systems. AI rely on users who are able to make the most out of AI systems, to streamline their workflow.

Humans will still be needed to verify, analyze and act based on those data. Which makes training and reskilling of current staff a priority for banks moving forward.