NatWest has strengthened its collaboration with IBM to enhance the bank’s virtual assistant, Cora and further tap into generative AI.

As a result of the deal, customers can benefit from access to a wider range of information through conversational interactions with the AI. 

It means the bank will be one of the first to deploy generative AI – looking to enable a safe, intuitive, and accessible experience in its digital services.

Wendy Redshaw, Chief Digital Information Officer of the NatWest Group’s Retail Bank, said: “We are a relationship bank in a digital world, building trusted, long-term relationships with our customers through meaningful and personalised engagement. 

“Building on Cora’s success over the last five years, we’re working with companies like IBM to leverage the latest generative AI innovations that will help make Cora feel even more ‘human’ and, most importantly, a trusted, safe and reliable digital partner for our customers.”

Harnessing the power of responsible and ethical AI forms part of the bank’s wider strategy, collaborating with IBM and other experts to support customers achieve financial wellbeing through personalised support. 

John Duigenan, Distinguished Engineer and General Manager Global, added on the deal: “NatWest and other forward-thinking leaders of financial institutions around the world are exploring the potential of AI technologies as part of their competitive business strategy.”

It builds on the growth of AI in the UK, with London last week hosting a landmark AI Safety Summit, which welcomed world leaders into the region. Tony Craddock, Director General of The Payments Association, emphasised that the use of AI is going to lead to significant changes in the payments industry.

He said that the “sector needs to learn to use AI effectively. As political leaders need to get on the same page with regards to the development of AI, it’s essential that the fintech community does the same and ensure we are a united force to weather the inevitable changes that are just around the corner”. 

Payment Expert Analysis: The use of AI from mainstream banks feels like an inevitable fate, this step for NatWest is one that can be considered a positive one as they look to bolster the consumer experience through new tech. It is also vital that the human connection remains, specifically for the most vulnerable customers.