Artificial Intelligence

Interview with an Expert: The Future of AI & Banking with Don Halliwell

AI is a buzzword that his been dominating the FinTech conversation for years now. It promises to revolutionize the way traditional banking processes happen, and drastically improve both the experience of bank customers, and profitability for the financial institutions themselves.

Don Halliwell, Senior Director of Marketing and Communications at Zafin, has written about AI for us a few times. Internally, he’s our expert on when and how artificial intelligence is going to change the way we bank. I took the time to sit down with him and learn more about how the financial industry is poised for change.


Cam: What exactly does integrating artificial intelligence mean for banks? Why would they want to pursue it?

Don: AI is really going to change the way that people interface with their bank and the way the bank operates. If you think of the three main pillars or focus areas of banks, we’re talking customer behavior, customer experience, profitability, and operational efficiency. AI stands to drastically improve all of those areas so banks are certainly looking at it. If they’re not, they should be.

It seems evident that AI and machine learning will benefit a bank’s bottom line, but how will it impact their customers?

Customer experience is driven by the large tech companies. Over the past decade or so as customers, we’ve been delighted with these great experiences. We want to be able to bank at our fingertips. By and large, they are providing this experience, but it’s not without its struggles. Banks are certainly investing in technologies like AI to be able to overcome these customer experience challenges. I’m extrapolating, but one tap of your mobile phone could cause a paper trail somewhere in the middle office of the bank, which is not efficient. It’s not an efficient way to operate, but that is the reality. That’s the way that things have been stitched together with the legacy infrastructure.

With AI, with machine learning, we can drastically reduce those processes or enhance those processes, reducing perhaps human interaction or inefficiency and drastically improve customer experience in that way.

Banks are always looking for a competitive edge — especially with the rise of digital challenger banks. How can AI provide that?

The competitive advantage with AI for a bank is really into data. Data allows them to make moves, to place educated bets in the market, and to understand their customer more so that they can create those experiences and really drive the market. The banks that are the first movers on AI and really understanding how this technology will impact the three areas, the profitability, the operational efficiency, and that customer experience, certainly stand to have a competitive advantage against others in the market for sure.

Can you offer a specific example where a bank can leverage AI or machine learning right now?

I’ll tell you a “for instance” about how AI is kind of applicable in banking today or a use case, if you will. As a customer, I’m shopping for all of these different banking products or I have banking needs that I know or I may not even know, but the bank can start to know this based on the merchants that I’m shopping at. Perhaps they know that I’m looking for an auto loan — they can infer that through the data. In the back end, what would otherwise take a few weeks or a few days at least to spin up the right product mix for me in that situation. The system could do it behind the scenes in advance. It already knows I need an auto loan before I know that I need an auto loan, so that when I’m on my phone ready and I’m shopping for cars, it’s there either as an advertisement or just it’s available to me when I need it.

The for instance is, AI knows me, knows my habits, my spending habits, and can start to predict what sort of banking products I need before I even need them.

Want to learn more about how Zafin can revolutionize your business with machine learning? Don’t hesitate — reach out today!

About Zafin

Zafin (@zafin) is a leading financial technology provider that enables banks to form richer, more personalized client relationships. Built from the ground up for financial services, its platform empowers banks to enhance revenue and operational efficiency. Founded in 2002, Zafin sits among North America’s top FinTech companies, and is trusted by retail and corporate units at some of the largest banks worldwide. Headquartered in Toronto with global offices, Zafin has a proven track record with a 100 percent client retention rate as validation.

Cam Smith

Cam is the Digital Communications and Marketing Coordinator at Zafin. With a background in journalism and a passion for blogging, Cam strives to tell compelling digital stories. At Zafin he will share the latest trends and news in the FinTech world, and share the Zafin role as leader in the industry. Follow him on Twitter @CamSmoth

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