CBA detects abusive behaviour in AI implementation

The Commonwealth Bank Australia (CBA) has introduced Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology and machine learning techniques to detect abusive behaviour in transaction descriptions within the CommBank App and Netbank.

Designed in the CBA AI labs, for the first time this development allows the bank to ‘proactively identify’ instances of technology-facilitated abuse- a targeted form of domestic and family violence.

Justin Tsuei, the company’s General Manager of Community and Customer Vulnerability, commented: “Technology-facilitated abuse is a serious problem, and completely unacceptable behaviour. 

“We want to ensure our customers feel safe when they are using our platforms, and it’s our responsibility to do everything we can to provide the right measures of protection across our channels.”

With the intention of complementing the bank’s automatic block filter that was implemented to stop threatening, harassing or abusive language, the new model looks to reflect the bank’s focus in delivering ‘greater innovation’ across its digital channels.

“The use of AI technology and machine learning techniques to help us address a serious issue like technology-facilitated abuse demonstrates how we can use innovative technology to create a safer banking experience for all customers, especially for those in vulnerable circumstances like victim-survivors of domestic and family violence,” Tsuei added.

From 1 May to 31 July 2021, the company claims that over 100,000 transactions were blocked by the automatic filter that prevents offensive language being used in transaction descriptions on the CommBank App and Netbank. 

Of those instances, the new AI model detected 229 unique senders of potentially serious abuse, which were then manually reviewed to determine severity and the appropriate action required from the bank.

“With this new model in place, not only are we able to proactively detect possible instances of abuse in transaction descriptions, but we can do so at an incredible scale.”

Further interventions that the organisation has introduced to support customers impacted by domestic violence and technology-facilitated abuse, include: de-linking the victim-survivor’s bank account from PayID so that the perpetrator can no longer use their email address, mobile number or ABN, setting up new safe accounts for victim-survivors, and sending warning letters to perpetrators, to name a few.