Artificial Intelligence: Taking the formality out of banking

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Imagine you’re meeting with your bank manager. The chances are, you’ll ‘dress up’ to give a certain impression, to look like the kind of person that meets their expectations. Perhaps you put on a suit or business attire, to make sure you appear serious, as appearance could be a factor in taking your banking request into account.  

You fit into a mould to try to get the best response: credit, an advantageous rate, a repayment rate. You adopt a serious look on your face and perhaps even speak differently. It seems normal to adapt to the bank’s norms even if they are not your own. These codes and behaviours are ingrained, like a ritual. You put on not simply your best suit, but the most sober one, to fit the occasion.

If the banker decides that money is too complex for you, they may speak in jargon, giving the impression that you don’t understand anything about your finances, using haughty language and perhaps a dismissive tone. If, on the other hand, you’re a client who has money and is looking to make it grow, the relationship is reversed, and the banker may become more deferential on their side.

Talking with a bank manager also depends on how much time they are willing to spare you. You’ll have to adapt to their availability and timetable, rather than simply managing your money when you want to. This can create tension in your relationship with money. But this relationship is not fixed in stone. Your relationship with money can change thanks to AI, as the drivers of the banking relationship described above need not determine your relationship with money in the first place.

With AI, there is no need for a suit or forced formality. There’s no schedule either. You can be more relaxed and forget about constraints. You have a free mind, so you’re likely to be more direct, more familiar and simplify your language. Your tone may be neutral or playful, but this has no consequence in terms of the AI’s decision. With a human, you depend on how they feel. AI assistants feel nothing, they don’t express any emotion. A virtual assistant won’t judge you. It can help you manage your finances, to be as useful as possible, in a logical way according to an algorithm. 

Image credit: iStockPhoto

Image credit: iStockPhoto (Image credit: Image Credit: Devrimb / iStockPhoto)

The humanisation of AI

However, it’s still necessary to be vigilant. While AI is, in conception, neutral in its responses, being shaped by a human being, it can still acquire bias. It is essential that a trusted player is at the helm. The humanisation of AI is shaped by the humans who create it. Linguists have an important role in choosing words to respond to people’s problems in difficult situations. For example, the contribution of empathy is important. So is humour. The company’s culture, world view and organisational ‘raison d’être’ must therefore be integrated and inform the teams in charge of AI, while the risks of human bias are also managed. That’s why at Orange, these considerations are at the heart of our AI commitments.

Orange Bank’s ambition is to offer a new banking experience by breaking down traditional notions of power. And we believe that AI can play a central role in achieving this. AI can help people change their relationship to money. This change is already being felt thanks to features that are now being deployed by Orange Bank that allow you to talk about money differently. Asking for your balance aloud, getting credit at any time, requesting money and transferring it to your contacts, friends, family and colleagues, simplifies and relaxes your relationship with money. Today, our AI assistant, Djingo now understands nearly 80 per cent of the questions asked in natural language and deals entirely with almost 50 per cent of queries we receive with Orange Bank. This is only set to grow. AI’s role as an intermediary will also help relax the relationship between humans too.

Transforming the banking customer experience

All these elements put together will lead to a gradual change in mentality. Already, a recent survey we conducted on customer attitudes to artificial intelligence found that in France over half of customers said they were ready to use AI to communicate with their bank. While in Spain, the figure was over 70 per cent. Over time, gradually the relationship between customers and their bank will change. And as demand grows and the relationship evolves, at Orange Bank we’re working daily to bring improved services to customers to continue to transform the banking customer experience for the better.

Stéphane Vallois, Deputy CEO of Orange Bank

Stéphane Vallois

Stéphane Vallois is the Deputy CEO at Orange Bank. He has over one year of experience in that domain.