Sberbank says robots to be used for increasing productivity

Maria Nikolova

Head of Sberbank’s Robotics Laboratory Albert Efimov has clarified the bank’s approach to using robots.

Replacement of human staff by robots is inevitable but this is not what robots are made for, according to Albert Efimov, Head of the Robotics Laboratory at Sberbank Rossii PAO (MCX:SBER). Mr Efimov was quoted by RIA Novosti as saying that the lab is building the robots to increase productivity at the bank.

For instance, thanks to robots, the work of three employees who sort banknotes may be enhanced so that their productivity can be boosted by more than three times, he explains. Also, robots may help during times of increased workload such as holidays when clients of the bank need more cash or simply make more payments online and the processing powers have to be bolstered.

Let’s recall that in May last year Sberbank showed a “Kuka Hand” – a robotic hand used to sort and count money. One such robot, according to Stanislav Kuznetsov, Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board of Sberbank, may replace six human beings. Sberbank said the solution would be gradually rolled out across the bank’s regional offices in 2017.

Mr Efimov’s comments were made several days after Sberbank became a member of the Russian Association of Robotics (RAR), an industrial union that claims to connect 90% of players of the industrial robotics market, including Russian and foreign producers and integrators, as well as producers of service robot technology, research and educational institutions, developers of subsystems and software for robots. Sberbank’s membership in the association is aimed at facilitating contacts between Sberbank and the international robotics community and at giving the bank a chance to participate in the development of the Russian state robotics policy. It is also set to help Sberbank promote its own tech solutions.

Sberbank is also known for its AI passion. In October last year, Herman Gref – CEO and Chairman of the Executive Board of Sberbank, was quoted by information agency Interfax as saying that AI accounts for 35% of the decisions related to credits for legal entities. This proportion is set to rise to 70%, Mr Gref has forecast. He mentioned five key areas of the bank’s operations for the implementation of AI. The first and major area is robo-advising, Mr Gref said. The others are big data analysis, cybersecurity, client profile analysis, and automatization of bank operations.

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