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Digital banking Updated: 14 Sep 2018

BBVA and the huge potential for Artificial Intelligence to support better digital banking

Digital banking offers both customers and clients alike massive potential. The accessibility, control and extra insights being a digital banking user can deliver are huge, and for BBVA it’s a model it can use to help people make better, more informed decisions.

Canales Digitales

The bank often talks about the digital transformation it is undergoing, and the increasing ways in which its customers are choosing to interact with it. For example, at BBVA's most recent results presentation the bank revealed how its digital sales had grown from 21.5% in March 2017 to 36.7% in March this year - showing the extent to which it’s customers digital adoption was driving growth.

Part of that is down to the increasing levels of do-it-yourself products and services now available to customers on the banks channels - currently standing at 92% availability across the group.

But another key element is the ways in which BBVA is looking to increase its interaction levels with its customers -, and their value from them - something BBVA calls the Interactions to Opportunities model.

Why is this important? Put simply, because the more BBVA can learn about the specific needs of its customers and clients, and the more trust that is built into the relationship - through the bank always operating in the customer best interests - the more it can do for them.

AI powered services are all part of BBVA's ambition to help people make their financial lives simpler

This relationship starts with all the interactions and communications and the bank and its customers have - something BBVA actively measures. An interaction for us means a process or journey, that adds specific end to end value to the customer. Last year, across all digital channels, call centers, in branches, point of sale purchases and across the ATM network, this figure amounted to around 10 billion - a figure that is expected to growth this year to in excess of 12 billion.

Of those interactions, only around 10% were human-to-human in nature, with the rest effectively human-to-machine, where the customer has directly interacted with the bank’s IT infrastructures and applications. 

That means there is huge potential here for Artificial Intelligence driven solutions to improve the overall banking experience.

For example, of that 10 billion, around 38% were payments, where there is actually huge scope for banks to help customers in this process. For example, being able to accurately define the purchase and itemize it for the customer in their own banking apps, so they can see what they are spending their money on each month and adjust habits if necessary by creating automatic personalized alerts and goals.


Interactions to Opportunities

But this can go further too, with machine learning tools that are able to scan huge data sets to see if the customer received good value for their purchase, suggest alternative solutions, or help them understand if people similar to them are spending the same on things.

In fact, BBVA’s banking app in Spain and other countries already does some of these things, categorizing purchases to help budgeting, for example, or constructing virtual budgets or itemized itineraries for spending. Even predicting income and expenses up to two months before they happen.

The encouraging thing is that the digital interaction rate continues to grow, showing the value these channels offer to customers. For example, interactions rates through pure digital channels (web & app), already represent 30,4% of the total, with the app growing additional interactions at a rate of more than double a year.

BBVA’s Global Head of Customer Solutions, Derek White, said: “AI powered services are all part of BBVA´s ambition to help people make their financial lives simpler and more easy to manage.

“It’s about using the vast expertise and technological prowess BBVA has to deliver real, actionable insights for people so their money and data work harder for them.”

He added that perhaps the key thing for BBVA when it thinks of the value add that AI can deliver, are the new trust algorithm the bank is able to build into the relationships it has with its customers.

White said: “It’s the power of smart interactions facilitated by digital interactions, which, when underpinned by customer centric design, allows us to do an increasing amount for our customers and clients.”