NatWest banks AI virtual assistant upgrade with IBM

Stock image of blue banking/automation | Accenture and CBD

IBM and NatWest have announced enhancements to the bank’s virtual assistant, Cora, that will use GenAI to provide customers with access to a wider range of information through conversational interactions.

With this GenAI collaboration, NatWest will be among the first in the UK to deploy GenAI with a virtual assistant to enable a safe, intuitive and accessible experience in its digital services.

Leveraging ethical AI forms as part of the bank’s wider strategy and IBM’s enterprise-grade AI and data platform, watsonx, teams are co-creating a digital concierge (Cora+) that evolves the chatbot’s capability into a more interactive and conversational experience to benefit customers.

Cora+ will be able to access information from multiple secure sources that were previously inaccessible through chat alone, such as products, services, information about the bank and career opportunities. Customers can ask questions and receive responses in a natural, conversational style and are provided with links to requested information, which they can either view immediately or bookmark for later.

To accelerate the pace of innovation, the IBM client engineering team worked alongside the NatWest business and technology teams to rapidly co-create, test and validate the outcomes with the aim of safely and swiftly delivering a viable GenAI digital assistant.

John Duigenan, distinguished engineer and general manager Global Financial Services Industry at IBM, said: “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.

“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. We’re excited about the opportunity to collaborate with NatWest on its vision for customer care.”

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 personalized engagement.

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