The future of finance in LatAm & the Caribbean

Artificial intelligence in banking: three elements for success

Feb 19, 2018

Banks need “many pieces in place” to execute a great AI strategy, according to BBVA Bancomer’s head of new digital businesses Artificial intelligence
Banks need “many pieces in place” to execute a great AI strategy, according to BBVA Bancomer’s head of new digital businesses

Artificial intelligence, machine learning and chat bots are powerful emerging tools for banks, but they demand several building blocks for best results, the head of new digital businesses at BBVA Bancomer has said.

Natural language capabilities, very clear business rules and vast quantities of data are among the most important of those pieces, Carlos López-Moctezuma told iupana. BBVA Bancomer has been working with artificial intelligence technology for over two years.

“For a machine to be able to respond adequately, you need to develop natural language tools – in everyday language that people can understand,” said López-Moctezuma.

For a global bank like BBVA, that means additional work localizing such tools to adapt them to the way Spanish is used in different parts of Latin America, he said.

Very clear business rules are also key, said López-Moctezuma. These define what can be offered to different clients according to their specific situation and behaviors. Big data plays an important role in shaping those rules, he said.

“To respond to clients, I need very clear business rules, which allow me to address subjects like servicing, digital sales, clarifications,” he said. “To achieve that, it’s important to analyze client behavior, client information, in a way that’s much deeper and covers many more variables than in the past.”

Among other goals, the bank hopes that text and voice chatbots can help bring the bank closer to clients by increasing the number of interactions with customers.

Above all, AI remains a huge area for financial institutions to learn more, said López-Moctezuma.

“The biggest challenge for the bank is to transform from a company that simply offers traditional financial products to being truly a tech company, that can develop these types of systems in-house. Becoming a software developer overnight is not easy.”

Get further insight into BBVA Bancomer’s work with artificial intelligence in the latest episode of the iupana conversa podcast. It’s in Spanish and available today. López-Moctezuma discusses the bank’s early results with chat bots, the KPIs it uses to measure success, and the challenges overcome along the way. Listen to the full conversation through the player above, on iTunes, or via your preferred podcast app.