Artificial Intelligence in the Portuguese banking sector

Our CEO, David Conde, had the opportunity to moderate the round table held at The Fintech House Lisbon with key players in Artificial Intelligence and the Portuguese banking sector: Ricardo Chaves, from Banco BPI; Bruno Tinoco, from Novobanco and Ricardo Moreira, from Santander Portugal.

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Artificial intelligence and its role in improving customer service

David started by commenting on the possibilities of evolution of the PSD2 standard. He spoke about the transformative potential of AI in the banking sector and a future PSD3.

All participants recognized the influence of AI so far and highlighted the capacities of new generative AI: “It is an opportunity to significantly improve the customer experience.” They also mentioned the need to manage change and prepare banking infrastructure for massive use. In this regard, Google Document AI allows them to streamline processes and manage requests, such as mortgage applications for example, in a more efficient way.

It was also mentioned that, thanks to NLP (Natural Language Processing), conversational interactions are achieved that improve customer service and offer help at any time and place, which increases the end user’s satisfaction with the bank. At this point a new topic of debate arises: “The option of managing risk through advanced artificial intelligence techniques is also an interesting path, but we must face the challenge posed by the gap between traditional risk approaches and AI models”.

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Banks and FinTech work together to unleash the potential of artificial intelligence

Panelists agreed that current regulatory concerns necessitate close collaboration between AI experts and business teams. When integrating artificial intelligence, managers look to examples from other sectors, such as Tesla‘s plan to introduce a humanoid robot as a home assistant. Due to its learning ability, it can help people with tasks such as watering plants, picking up, or cleaning.

Despite the difficulty of imagining this type of assistant being truly efficient in the near future, the skills and technology they use do shape the future of banking in the coming months. AI, especially generative AI, is already interacting with users and gaining widespread recognition. Its transformative potential seems to have no limits. Everyone agreed that the fundamental aspect to take care of is the trust of the end customer.

Working with a skilled team of data scientists, programming experts, and machine learning engineers can help the financial industry catch the wave of artificial intelligence. The conversation focused on the importance of having technological partners such as FinTech, true transformative assets. By thoroughly analyzing large amounts of documentation, these companies can train AI to improve processes.

Connect with people: banks must know the needs of their customers

In the era of autonomous vehicles, smartphones and hyper connectivity, one thing remains unchanged: Banks engage with users in the most important moments of their lives. The birth of a child, the search for a home, starting a new professional adventure… All of this needs people, “we are social animals and we want to have someone we can trust.”

Speakers commented that, of course, there will be services and products that will be fully automated but it is important to focus on customer experience, conversational capabilities and document AI. They then highlighted the importance of well-structured data and the challenges linked to innovation.
Their experiences with data management make clear the need to have tools capable of analyzing, categorizing and enriching information. It is a pragmatic approach that uses technology to maximize organizational efficiency. The importance of avoiding unnecessary complexities and focusing on scalability was then emphasized.

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New generations demand innovative digital platforms from their banks

When asked how they see the future of banking, our panelists agree. The digitization that took place a few years ago is now being completed with an emphasis on the importance of branches to offer 100% human interactions. This hybrid configuration is being seen in the retail sector, for example, with the online distribution giant, Amazon, opening physical stores.

Its vision is to offer digital banks that have accessible branches capable of adapting to the changing behaviors and expectations of 21st century users. “We are verifying that there is a clear need for human interaction that generates engagement right now.”

Banks have already begun to take the necessary steps to take care of these aspects and the data that users deposit with them. To close this roundtable, they highlighted the importance of simplicity, efficiency and usability in the customer journey, advocating the automation of routine tasks to allow employees to focus on creativity and end-user satisfaction.

In Lisbon we have drawn a banking landscape in which AI is seamlessly integrated into people’s financial lives, simplifies the internal processes of entities and offers valuable advice during the most important moments in clients’ lives. There may be challenges and we may learn many lessons along the way, but we will never leave our human side!

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