UnionBank Data Science, AI Experts Discuss Importance of Customer Centricity, Collaboration in Banking


UnionBank and US-based data and artificial intelligence (AI) services provider TripleBlind recently held a webinar on collaborating with AI tools in financial service. The Bank’s Chief Data & AI Officer Dr. David Hardoon, and Head of AI Center of Excellence Dr. Adrienne Heinrich, discussed the importance of customer centricity and collaboration in providing data and AI-driven solutions to customers.

Dr. Hardoon presented customer centricity as a very important component of banking and finance, as this mindset will enable banks and other financial solutions providers to create products and services that are more personalized and address customers’ unique needs.

“Everything that we do—when we go buy a car, when dealing with insurance or healthcare, thinking of our future house—ultimately is situated and substantiated on our finances. So, how do we go about truly personalizing and accommodating one’s need? It’s important to really have that centricity,” Dr. Hardoon stressed.

He added that true breakthroughs in terms of solutions can be achieved through collaboration with players in other sectors, as doing so will bring in a vast amount of outsider expertise into the co-creation process. “Customer centricity has to be done through collaboration, and that naturally leads to the multi-sectorial approach, providing better, more specific products, better solutions,” Dr. Hardoon said.


“For us at UnionBank, it’s very important to put the customer at the center, and therefore, we seek to develop customer-centric AI solutions. Besides looking at AI solutions for banking-specific features, we’re also looking at innovative solutions beyond banking,” mentioned Dr. Heinrich.

She likewise noted that solutions providers should consider value-adds for clients to enable them to have customer relationships in a more holistic way. This would assist clients in their areas of interest or in what they want or need to spend money for.

“We can actually see that this is really a customer need when looking at major topics that come up in personal finance forums on the web. We can see that less than 20 percent of the conversations actually mention banking products or services,” Dr. Heinrich emphasized.

UnionBank has been continuously exploring partnerships with external players in the industry or academia to provide more value for its customers. This, Dr. Heinrich said, will enable the Bank to be fast with innovative advances. She then cited AI use cases in healthcare as an example, with a hypothetical use case where a bank can get access to a large pool of data of patients with certain chronic diseases.

According to Dr. Heinrich, “By running machine learning models on this data, we can give financial advice for the coming months and years to be able to cover the cost for the treatments and have patients select their preferred life-enhancing products or services accordingly. And we can also easily enhance the data set with our own data of the customer, and that can be shared back to the care provider, if the patient agrees.”

There really are a lot of possibilities collaborating with AI tools in financial services.

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