After the successful launch of the Chat GPT 4.0 chatbot by OpenAI at the beginning of 2023, many businesses started testing the tools provided by artificial intelligence and the areas of their application. Artificial intelligence is an excellent assistant but not a full-fledged employee, and it is unlikely to become one, according to Anton Baltin, Head of the Sales and Regional Development Department at LPB Bank. In a conversation with Anton, we learned how artificial intelligence could be helpful in the banking sector and in which direction smart assistants will be developed.

Anton Baltin, Head of the Sales and Regional Development Department at LPB Bank

Tell me about your experience using the Chat GPT 4.0 chatbot. What tasks did you assign to it?

Before we dive into the topic of chatbots and AI, I want to note that LPB Bank is a bank that keeps up with the times. We offer services related to the latest technologies, mainly e-commerce and fintech. The rapid development of these areas imposes certain obligations on us – we keep up with trends, introduce advanced technological developments, and keep our fingers on the pulse. For example, we are one of Latvia’s few banks offering its clients integration with Apple Pay and Banking as a Service (BaaS) services for licensed payment institutions. Another technological improvement is remote application submission and authentication of potential clients. Of course, this is not a unique solution, but not all banks use it, and usually, you have to come to the bank in person with a document to become its client. On the other hand, we offer to become our clients online, which saves much time.

Because we are big fans of digital transformation, it was impossible to ignore such a loud topic as the use of artificial intelligence in business, and we also started testing the capabilities of the Chat GPT 4.0 chatbot.

As I am responsible for selling banking services, my colleagues and I tested the chatbot on different types of emails. We immediately realized that the chatbot writes high-quality cold emails to customers in English. Of course, to make this happen, you need to give it a very detailed task. How does this process usually go? We have identified several industries our bank would like to work with. After that, we look for contacts of people who make decisions in a particular company and send them a letter with a proposal for cooperation. Of course, this letter cannot be a template or standard – it needs some details that can “hook” a person. Accordingly, the chatbot can create a good structure for the letter and even add exciting information (provided that you have set the task as clearly and detailed as possible). However, this text still needs a human touch to edit and add what the AI could not do. The chatbot’s work can be called very high-quality, but this result still requires human intervention. And our task is precisely to ensure that our clients do not feel like they are receiving a letter from a robot. People love attentive and respectful treatment, so we focus on an individual approach to each client. And as practice shows – this works very well.

What other applications could similar technologies have in the banking industry?

We are currently in the testing process and are just feeling our way around, understanding which new technologies can be helpful to us and which ones are not. As I mentioned, we consider an individualized approach one of our competitive advantages. This means that we can only automate processes that happen invisibly to the client. However, where communication and personal interaction are needed, we always work in a “human-to-human” format, and I don’t see any circumstances that could change this course.

However, AI opens incredible prospects when neural networks are connected to the data we already have. For example, AI can conduct a deep analysis of payments for our clients in the fintech industry and areas such as AML, anti-fraud, and security. In the field of AML, AI-based tools are revolutionizing the industry as they can scan vast amounts of data, detect suspicious activity, learn from their mistakes, and minimize false alerts. Additionally, AI can be applied for risk forecasting, enabling banks to prevent them proactively. As a result, the bank enhances its security level, complies with regulatory requirements, and significantly strengthens its reputation.

It is essential to recognize the significant role that data and analytics play in traditional and digital banking. AI-based tools facilitate and make data analysis more accurate. When we offer Banking as a Service (BaaS) to fintech companies, including AI-based tools, they have the opportunity to understand the behaviour of their end users better, gain more precise insights into trends, predict market changes, analyse real-time API usage, adapt their services to user needs, and thus achieve tremendous success in their niche.

Indeed, there are other areas in banking where AI can provide significant support. For example, the HR department can entrust AI with conducting initial CV screening to save time and avoid reviewing unsuitable applications. As we know, people often apply for job vacancies that do not match their relevant skills. Additionally, an exciting characteristic of AI is worth noting: it lacks emotions, making it more objective in reviewing applications. For instance, AI is unlikely to reject an application simply because it didn’t like the candidate’s photo! This helps ensure a fairer and unbiased selection process.

If we’re talking about large banks, where many applications and quick decisions need to be made, AI could also perform initial screening here. Chatbots can process orders, payments, and refunds, provide balances and statements, open and close accounts, and more. AI could speed up customer onboarding, assigning risk groups, etc. But at the end of this chain of actions, there still needs to be a person, and such a combination of AI and a human being is not only the most effective but also the only one possible.

Everyone is undoubtedly interested in whether technology will replace people in the labour market. Which professions might disappear “thanks” to technologies like Chat GPT 4.0,, Midjourney, and others?

Speaking specifically about our bank, we don’t plan to replace our employees with robots and AI. However, it’s necessary to study technologies as they emerge and determine whether and how a particular tool can be helpful for your business. If you do this, you’ll stay caught up in the market and do so catastrophically quickly. You may even never be able to regain your position if you drop out of this race. A personal assistant has become available to us, which is in everyone’s pocket. This assistant is ready to answer practically any question. It’s up to each of us to learn how to use it. We can do this at LPB Bank.

The employees performing the most standardized and straightforward tasks will be the first to be affected by the triumphant march of AI across the planet. Let’s consider the example of a call centre. Since there is what is known as conversational AI, which can recognize the voice and “converse” on its own, standard questions can be delegated to it, thus automating the first line of customer support. By training a chatbot on banking procedural documents, the call centre staff can be reduced so that AI handles 90% of tasks, as the chatbot will be capable of independently and effectively addressing basic customer inquiries. Only for the remaining 10% of tasks will a human be needed to tackle more complex issues.

Corporations love to save money, so if they can reduce the number of employees and replace them with hypothetical robots, that will undoubtedly happen, and it’s normal. People should understand that the world is changing incredibly fast, and the days when a person had one profession for life are gone. Experts say that people often change 3-4 jobs during their career path, and this trend will undoubtedly continue in the future. Therefore, it’s necessary to be flexible, self-educate, learn how technology works, learn how to work with it and adapt to new labour market conditions.

It may sound counterintuitive, but the widespread use of text models like Chat GPT 4.0 could lead us to value personal communication more and strive to improve our communication skills. We are already witnessing how AI is rapidly revolutionizing customer interactions. Chatbots can respond instantly to inquiries, operate 24/7, and communicate in multiple languages. They self-learn from each conversation, continuously improving the quality of their answers.

The importance of quality must be considered, especially in customer communication analysis. AI effectively assesses and analyses customer satisfaction by “scanning” phone conversations between bank employees and customers. As a result, banks can elevate communication to a whole new level, increasing customer loyalty.

On the other hand, the proliferation of AI in customer service can highlight the value of genuine human contact. Despite all the merits of AI, there are moments when nothing can replace empathy, intuition, and the nuances of human interaction that we bring to the table.

Technological progress is unstoppable, and the competition among companies working with AI, machine learning, neural networks, and others will only accelerate this progress. We must continue to monitor trends, actively study innovations, and, most importantly, think about how to use AI with good intentions. And, of course, we must remember the people around us and the importance of human communication.

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