The success of AI can be quite far-reaching, but the technology is especially beneficial to financial institutions, which must keep up with an ever-evolving marketplace. Whether banks are looking to provide 24/7 customer service, credit assessments, personalized financial planning, detect and prevent fraud, or bolster the back office, there are many important and powerful use cases for AI.
Lisa Paulsson, Chief Acceleration and Innovation Officer of Marginalen Bank, has been impressed by what she has seen AI accomplish for the banking industry. Her team is currently focused on enhancing customer service by creating a conversational agent that can provide support and answer simple questions 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“We are also one of the first banks in Sweden to employ humanoid robots,” she says. “Pepper from SoftBank, named M1, and SCITOS from MetraLabs, called B2. When the humanoid robots were launched, all the employees suggested names for our two new colleagues. It was a great way to make our new digital employees become a part of our organization. M1 and B2 have different personalities and work with different things in the bank.”
M1 works in reception, welcomes and registers visitors, and prints out visitor badges. The robot also can notify organizers when a visitor has arrived, provide meeting room directions, book a taxi and provide transportation information for nearby subways. Using both voice and facial recognition, M1 can offer humans the chance to be remembered for quicker service the next time they visit.
B2 works as an office tour guide. The humanoid provides an important service to the many architecture students who visit Marginalen Bank to examine the work of the building’s famed designer, Sigurd Lewerentz.
“B2 also socializes with our staff,” Paulsson explains. “It plays games (charades and dance), asks how you feel, and suggests dinner recipes. Employees can also apply for credit cards on B2.”
Additionally, Marginalen Bank uses RPA for automating back office processes and testing. “We have a lot of AI projects going on,” Paulsson adds. “We also want to educate and retrain staff to help them gain a better understanding of what AI is and what you can do with it.”
Paulsson acknowledges that there are misguided fears and expectations about AI and robots, especially from movies in the West.
“But if you look in the East, in Japan, they have a totally different view upon robots,” she continues. “In their culture, robots are often seen as companions and helping humankind to save the world.”
Fascinated by technology from a young age, Paulsson has fond memories of when the personal computer arrived. She was amazed by the new wave of communication and the amount of information that could be reached.
“I was hooked from the start,” she recalls. “It was a real eye-opener, realizing what tech can do as an enabler and building block for our democracy and to empower individuals.”
But while she has a strong passion for technology, she says that her colleagues are the best part of working in the banking industry.
“I work a lot with mentors,” she says. “I think it’s important to have door openers and to look for advice from others. I had many mentors in different phases of my life. I also believe that feedback is beneficial, and you can always learn from how other people interpreted the same situation. In other words, listen to what other people say and take advice.”
Regarding how others can be inspired to pursue a career in a STEM field, Paulsson hopes to see more coding classes for both boys and girls, as early as possible. She recommends that aspiring talent get involved in projects that will deliver a positive business impact in the near future. She stresses the importance of contributing to a company’s success very early on in one’s career.
“Do things outside the box,” she adds, noting the power of networking and highlighting the attributes of others – not just for oneself but for the betterment of all employees. “The positive effects that come from a healthy and encouraging working culture will be beneficial for all.”