By Dipo Olowookere
Robots called BlueBots have been deployed to some branches of Stanbic IBTC Bank to perform different banking activities.
This is the first time a financial institution in the country was making use of robots to carry out key banking operations to serve customers better.
A statement issued by Stanbic IBTC Bank, a member of Stanbic IBTC Holdings Plc, explained that this was another bold step taken towards service efficiency and enhanced customer experience.
Deployed about three months ago, the Stanbic IBTC BlueBots manage middle and back office activities. At the operational centre at Ilupeju, Lagos, the robots facilitate Account Origination and Servicing for Anti-Money Laundering (AML) transactions and Processing and Clearing for inward cheque confirmation.
At the Idejo, Lagos office, the Credit Risk Management System robots handle Personal Banking Credit assessments while at the bank’s headquarters in Lagos, the robots are deployed in Global Market Operations (GMO) to manage T-Bills processing.
The development heightens the growing application of artificial intelligence by the bank with the earlier deployment of the Stanbic IBTC Bank Chatbot, christened Sami, an artificial intelligence-powered conversational and transactional channel for rendering banking services to customers.
Speaking in Lagos, Chief Executive, Stanbic IBTC Bank, Dr Demola Sogunle, said given the rapid manner technology is evolving and the disruption this can trigger, it is imperative to tap into such evolving trends and technology to address the changing needs of customers.
“The Stanbic IBTC robot deployment speaks to our determination to consistently apply innovation and technology to provide bespoke financial solutions to our clients. The special features of the Stanbic IBTC BlueBots ensure that our customers are availed seamless banking solutions consistently and conveniently,” Mr Sogunle said.
He added that the robots were designed and deployed to reduce manual intervention, eliminate errors and reduce cost of processing in reconciliation processes, with reconciliation turnaround time reduced significantly and it was delivered at zero cost which is a first in the Nigerian Banking industry.
“We wanted something new. We wanted to increase speed. We wanted to boost efficiency and accuracy. Constantly raising the bar is a key value for us at Stanbic IBTC and leading the implementation of all the possible applications of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Nigeria was a good way to raise the bar,” Mr Sogunle added.
Elaborating further, Manager, Business Transformation Programmes, Stanbic IBTC Bank, Mr Wole Adesiyan, attributed the deployments to the ingenuity and creativity of Stanbic IBTC personnel as the feat was a strictly in-house project with support from Standard Bank South Africa, parent company of the Stanbic IBTC Group.
He described Stanbic IBTC as the Bank of the Future that will deploy every relevant technology to stay ahead of the curve. “We believe in preparing for the future without ignoring our environment and the culture of our people. Here in Nigeria, the average individual still desires human interaction when dealing with anything as sensitive as money.
“Maintaining a hybrid bank structure will keep us ahead of the curve. Through learning and development, we are prepared for a future that includes Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Process Automation. If a machine can do your job, prepare for a better one,” he said.
Mr Adesiyan said the robots are equipped with sophisticated security features to ensure round-the-clock performance without breaches. “We pride ourselves on the high level security that is provided by our in-house teams to the applications and solutions developed and deployed.”
As a member of the Standard Bank Group, Africa’s largest bank by assets and earnings, Mr Adesiyan said Stanbic IBTC will continue to leverage on the 155-year experience, expertise and strong financial clout of the mother brand to deliver superior sustainable shareholder value by meeting the needs of its clientele.
Only last week, Stanbic IBTC Bank was adjudged the Best Digital Bank in Nigeria in the Agusto & Co 2018 Consumer Digital Banking Satisfaction Index report, which Mr Adesiyan said is a standard that has been set and made it imperative to constantly raise the bar in providing customer satisfaction, digitally or otherwise.
He added that a similar quest prompted Stanbic IBTC Bank to launch, in November 2015, a personal teller machine (PTM), which offers customers the benefits of both self-service video banking and branch teller experience combined in one solution. The PTM combines video banking and remote transaction processing banking technology embedded within the machine to give customers the choice of self-service or connecting with a remote teller in a highly personalized, two-way audio/video interaction.
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