OCBC launches AI-powered voice banking services in partnership with Google

Maria Nikolova

Clients of the Singaporean bank can now tap the capabilities of the Google Assistant to get the latest financial market updates and foreign exchange rates.

Oversea-Chinese Banking Corp. Limited (SGX:O39), or OCBC, is taking another step towards adopting artificial intelligence (AI) solutions. Today, the bank announced the launch of AI-powered voice banking in partnership with Google.

Clients of the bank can now speak to the Google Assistant – on a smartphone or a Google Home device – to have a conversation about OCBC Bank’s services.

By speaking to the Google Assistant, users will be able to:

  • Calculate the mortgage loan amount they can afford;
  • Plan how much to save for their children’s education;
  • Ascertain how much they would need to retire comfortably;
  • Get the latest updates on the financial market;
  • Check unit trust prices;
  • Get foreign exchange rates;
  • Search for nearby OCBC Bank branches or ATMs.

For retirement planning, for example, a user can activate OCBC Bank’s service through the Google Assistant by saying: “Ok Google, talk to OCBC about retirement planning.” The Google Assistant will then reply to the user with leading questions to eventually calculate the retirement amount required. After the conversation with the Google Assistant is complete, an OCBC Bank customer service representative will follow up with the user on their retirement plans.

The Google Assistant complements other self-service digital channels such as AI-powered chatbot ‘Emma’, which was launched in 2017 and specialises in answering home and renovation loan queries on the OCBC Bank website in an intelligent, human-like way.

OCBC Bank has been committed to offering voice-based banking on digital voice assistants as a medium for customer interaction and engagement. Voice-powered technology has been deployed across the bank since October 2016, when OCBC Bank was the first in Singapore to enable customers to initiate e-payments using Apple’s Siri voice assistant. In October 2017, OCBC Bank was again first in Singapore to let business banking customers check their account balances and make funds transfers using just their voice via Siri. This was extended to retail banking customers in February 2018.

Let’s also mention that in November last year, the bank announced the deployment of two robots – Bob and Zac, at its consumer banking division. Bob helps to process housing loan restructuring applications while Zac is attached to the Finance team and helps to generate daily sales performance reports. Bob and Zac are second-generation robots born out of experimentation that started in 2015, when robots were first deployed to OCBC Bank’s Contact Centre.

The robots perform repetitive and time-consuming tasks that do not require higher-level cognitive processing or decision-making. Staff previously involved in these tasks now perform higher-value activities or focus on delivering better and superior customer service.

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