Perspectives

Technology has transformed customer experience in many industries, and banks that anticipate the heightened expectations of convenience, efficiency and tailored financial products and services will lead the market. Ping An Bank is a perfect example. China’s pioneer in mobile banking made a significant push into artificial intelligence (AI) technology with the debut of its ground-breaking AI Banker platform this year. AI is at the core of this new era of BANK 4.0. Ping An Bank is actively integrating AI into its operations strategy and services to empower its customers, employees and business partners.

A Smart Branch of Ping An Bank in Shenzhen, China.

AI Banker is an interactive, emotionally intelligent and self-learning digital banking platform that serves customers through multiple channels, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Customers get an experience of personal interaction with excellent service and much faster resolution times. As it is used, AI Banker is constantly improving customer experiences and growing smarter over time to enhance accuracy levels as the business grows.

AI Banker is propelling banking into a new age. Staff at traditional banks can advise customers on product or investment choices with the aid of data mining and analytics as well as their own financial models and market insight. However, AI Banker “supercharges” Ping An Bank’s services, by making intelligent product recommendations and offering insightful advice that draws on a broader range of data sources and market patterns that match them to customer preferences. Customers are able to access up-to-date portfolio positions and critical information they need to optimize their investments.

While AI Banker automates repetitive tasks, detects and analyzes patterns in data and processes transactions, bank personnel can focus on delivering higher-value, more insightful advice to customers. AI Banker can help them identify appropriate products for customers who prefer different investment choices. Customers receive alerts when new products that match their investment profile and needs are available, and AI Banker provides insight on the products’ historical data and performance to help customers make informed decisions. AI Banker can also provide more in-depth advice through analyses of market data and return rates, or refer cases to a human representative when needed.

This technology investment in retail banking is critical for Ping An Bank’s growth strategy. AI Banker now handles over 80% of customer service operations and has helped the conversion of sales grow three-fold. Last year, retail banking contributed to nearly 70% of Ping An Bank’s net income and accounted for about 50% of the Bank’s total revenue and loan facilities. It was the key growth driver of retail savings and assets under management (AUM) in 2018.

AI Banker also supports Ping An Bank’s “3 + 2 + 1” operations strategy, in which the three business segments – retail banking, consumer finance and private banking, and wealth management – are underpinned by cost control and risk management. AI can help reduce staff, process and procedural costs, while enhancing the speed and quality of decision-making. Ping An Bank expects AI Banker to cut its operating costs by 20% to 50% and increase its revenue by 20% to 50%.

The platform’s automated and standardized processes, such as tracking and reviews, have also improved forecasting and fraud detection. Despite uncertain economic times and the banking sector’s higher risk exposure, the Bank has been able to maintain lower non-performing loan rates than its peers, thanks to the application of its “AI + Risk Mitigation” approach and technology since 2018. In the first quarter of 2019, for example, the Bank prevented RMB141 million in losses due to fraud.

Retail banking as we know it has been disrupted and the banks who will win will be those who take advantage of emerging fintech and AI applications. Ping An Bank is a pioneer in strategic technology advances to better serve customers, improve performance and increase revenue. Ping An Bank is focused on staying ahead of the market to be “the world’s leading smart retail bank.”

 

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