Banking: Gen AI for simplicity

by Christophe Baniol - Partner, Financial Services Consulting, France
| minute read

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Published on 2023, December, 23rd in “Les Echos”

Ahead of their strategic challenges (digital, energy transition, operational efficiency, etc.), banks are confronted with a deeper issue, at the root of many of their problems: managing the immense complexity now inherent to their business. In this respect, Gen AI holds immense promise. 

The proliferation of offerings, from insurance to car sales and telecommunications, coupled with increasing regulations and the explosion of multi-channel customer contacts, has led to an unprecedented level of complexity in retail banking. 

The consequences of this ultra-complexity are far-reaching: retail banking activities are no longer under control. Not from a systemic point of view - that of risk, liquidity or capital - but on the very operational, day-to-day level of the business. 

A monster of complexity 

This is felt at every level. Process officers struggle to describe their paths, advisors give up at the first probing question, managers fail to fully grasp the multifaceted performance of an entity. 

In short, bankers have created a monster of complexity. And if it works well on average, it does so by mistreating its stakeholders: employees first, then customers who, ultimately, grapple with this proliferation with discomfort. 

This is where Gen AI comes in, with all its promise. With its ability to integrate a massive amount mass of data and render the relevant elements in natural language, to provide personalized and intelligible answers, Gen AI has all the assets to become the X factor of banking simplicity. 

From its ability to produce impactful interview preparation notes that add depth to cold data, to its capacity to provide staff with the answers they struggle to find in a cluttered intranet, Gen AI can clearly revolutionise dialogue with customers. 

Whether it is supporting advisors in creating personalized sales pitches, or offering chatbots that feel more natural at every stage of the digital journey, the dialogue promises to be targeted, relevant, renewed; in short, satisfying for all parties on all channels. Omnichannel would then become omniscient. 

Gen AI could also produce an intelligent account statement, going beyond the spreadsheet we have been consulting for generations. For the benefit of managers, it would automatically provide analyses of entity performance, with associated recommendations. 

Double promise 

Many of these topics have been the subject of experimentation in recent years. But they have remained frustratingly limited by technologies that are too immature to be popular with users. With Gen AI, these solutions, which would have been inconceivable less than a year ago, are now within reach of investment. And, as evidenced by the numerous announcements made since the start of the 2023 academic year, many players are already on the move. 

We'll have to pick our battles, determine our proprietary or open language models, track down "hallucinations", secure uses, and support employees who may be defensive when it comes to AI. But the path is clear. It is full of an inspiring dual promise: to make banking manageable for bankers in the field, and to make banking understandable, and even desirable, for customers, across all channels.

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