NatWest, in partnership with IBM, has announced significant enhancements to its virtual assistant, Cora, incorporating generative AI technology to provide customers with a broader range of information through conversational interactions.
The new development positions NatWest as one of the first banks in the UK to deploy generative AI, ensuring a secure, intuitive, and accessible experience in its digital services, the company said.
The collaboration with IBM focuses on leveraging responsible and ethical AI to support NatWest’s strategic goal of fostering financial well-being for its customers through personalized assistance. By harnessing IBM’s enterprise-grade AI and data platform, watsonx, NatWest is co-creating a digital concierge, Cora+, which transforms the chatbot’s capabilities into a more interactive and conversational experience for customers.
Cora+ enables personalized, conversational responses to complex customer queries, offering a more accessible and human interaction. It allows customers to compare products and services across NatWest’s suite, providing information about the bank and career opportunities. Accessing data from secure sources, Cora+ offers natural, conversational responses and provides links to requested information for immediate viewing or bookmarking.
Wendy Redshaw, chief digital information officer of NatWest Group’s Retail Bank, emphasized the bank’s commitment to meaningful and personalized customer engagement. Redshaw stated, “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 a trusted, safe, and reliable digital partner for our customers.”
As the banking industry shifts towards digital enterprises, attracting top technology talent and fostering innovation have become priorities. NatWest’s collaboration with IBM aligns with its Digital X Strategy, focusing on engineering, protecting, and operating, to deliver what matters most for customers. The collaboration facilitated rapid co-creation, testing, and validation of generative AI capabilities, ensuring a viable digital assistant for NatWest customers.
John Duigenan, distinguished engineer and general manager Global Financial Services Industry at IBM, highlighted the importance of AI technologies in the banking sector, stating, “With the appropriate guardrails and governance in place ensuring that AI is open, trusted, and targeted, banks can deliver an empowering value proposition enabling an even deeper level of customer loyalty.”
The move towards generative AI aligns with industry trends, as indicated by a recent study from IBM’s Institute for Business Value. The study revealed that banking and financial markets leaders are selectively exploring the potential of generative AI, recognizing its value in delivering financial results. Talent, security, and customer experience were identified as key areas of interest, with customer care being a top priority for 75 percent of financial services CEOs surveyed.
NatWest’s collaboration with IBM underscores its commitment to enhancing customer experiences and staying at the forefront of technological advancements, ensuring the bank remains competitive in the evolving digital landscape, according to NatWest officials.