NatWest updates chatbot with AI capabilities

NatWest expects big things from Big Tech in payments innovation
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NatWest will announce a stepping up of its Artificial Intelligence (AI) use at the London Fintech Week, the bank has detailed, specifically regarding customer engagement.

The retail bank has developed AI enhancements to its Cora chatbot assistant in cooperation with IBM. The new chatbot, Cora+, will be unveiled this week and function as a customer service tool to provide 24/7 banking queries through natural language processing and machine learning.

Cora+ will begin as a 12-week pilot before being rolled out group-wide. NatWest aims to identify any potential learnings and updates during this pilot phase, and hopes that Cora+ will build on the extensive customer engagement activity of its predecessor.

Wendy Redshaw, Chief Digital Information Officer of the NatWest Group’s Retail Bank, said: “As a bank we are committed to harnessing the latest technology to enhance customer experience, and the introduction of Cora+ is a major step forward in how customers interact with NatWest. 

“By collaborating with IBM, we have been able to build on Cora’s success and leverage the latest innovations in AI, and we’re proud to be one of the first banks in the UK to do this. Cora+ will not only provide a more seamless ‘human’ experience, but also be a trusted, reliable digital partner for our customers.”

NatWest will make Cora+ accessible through its various digital channels – its website, mobile app and social media platforms – and the bank has detailed several core features of the new chatbot. 

These are multi-channel integrations, accessing information from various sources in one place; enhanced conversational capabilities, answering customer queries in a more ‘human style’, as the bank puts it; and providing proactive assistance by meeting customer needs; and offering a broad knowledge base.

AI’s role in payments has been recognised across the industry, from day-to-day functions as in the case of NatWest’s chatbot to more in-depth analytical and investigative purposes, like fraud prevention and anti-money laundering operations.

David Lindberg, CEO of Retail Banking at NatWest, added: “AI has been a key tool for NatWest since we introduced Cora in 2017 and nearly 11 million queries were answered last year alone to help customers manage their money. 

“Today, we’re taking the next step by introducing Cora+ and becoming one of the first banks to use generative AI in this way to provide more personalised and responsive support. 

“Cora+ is better able to anticipate their needs, make suggestions and respond in a more ‘human’ way to questions. Cora+, using generative AI, will transform the way our customers interact with us on their day-to-day banking needs.”