UBank Utilizes IBM Watson for an AI-Powered Chatbot

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UBank, an Australian direct bank operating as a division of National Australia Bank, is now using IBM’s Watson technology to build a chatbot powered by artificial intelligence (AI) that will help potential homebuyers and refinancers fill out their home loan application forms, CIO reports. The cognitive banking offering is the bank’s most recent technological advancement.

UBank’s Chatbot Offering

RoboChat will be available via a live-chat functionality currently offered on UBank’s home loan website. The system will respond to customers using natural language on 40 core loan topics along with hundreds of correlated questions using IBM Watson Conversion API. Further, RoboChat will continue to learn more as it interacts with more customers.

Training the chatbot involved using data collected from thousands of customer questions and responses through the bank’s live-chat sessions. UBank feels that over time, the technology will become smarter and more user-friendly, CIO notes.

The financial firm’s goal is to help lessen the time it takes for customers to fill in home loan applications forms by providing answers to queries in real time.

“If you’ve gathered all of your paperwork, the form can be completed in as little time as it takes you to have your breakfast,” UBank CEO Lee Hatton said in a statement, according to iTnews.

To make the home loan process more enjoyable, the bank reportedly built the chatbot with a sense of humor, providing tongue-in-cheek responses to certain questions.

A Future With Virtual Assistants

More and more, customers are embracing the speed and convenience of fintech solutions like RoboChat that provide enhanced customer service support, making digital transformation in banking increasingly important.

“From deepening the customer experience to increased productivity for employees, virtual assistants are being adopted across industries and becoming more advanced in natural conversation and emotional intelligence, with the help of cognitive technology,” said Brock Douglas, Vice President of Watson for IBM Asia Pacific, in a joint statement with UBank.

RoboChat provides UBank customers with an added option for assistance when filling out home loan forms to simplify the application process. The bank notes that the chatbot function wouldn’t discontinue the traditional assistance provided by its customer service staff via phone, email or live chat.

“Our goal is to deliver simpler, better, smarter banking to our customers, and RoboChat will help deliver on this by streamlining the application form,” said Hatton in the official UBank statement.

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About The Author

Kelley Katsanos

News Writer

Kelley Katsanos is a freelance writer specializing in business and technology. She has previously worked in business roles involving marketing analysis and competitive intelligence. Her freelance work appears at IBM Midsize Insider, Houston Chronicle's chron.com, and AZ Central Small Business. Katsanos earned a Master of Science in Information Management from Arizona State University as well as a bachelor's degree in Business with an emphasis in marketing. Her interests include information security, marketing strategy, and business process improvement.