OCBC banking on voice

Each month, over two million banking transactions and services are performed using the OCBC Mobile Banking app. Since August 2019, the app has offered an AI-powered voice-based virtual assistant – which has helped with over 20,000 requests made via voice. In half of these requests, the customer was seeking information about spending categories and budgets.

The new voice-activated banking service called the OCBC Banking Assistant, ‘lives’ in the OCBC Mobile Banking app.

Sourced through The Open Vault at OCBC, OCBC Bank’s Fintech and Innovation lab, the technology that powers the Assistant had been tested and is available for use outside Singapore. It had to be re-engineered for the local context – and integrated into the OCBC banking system. The Assistant also had to be taught how customers in Singapore talk and ‘understand’ all the potential requests from customers. The OCBC Banking Assistant was also taught to incorporate “logic” in its responses. If the customer wants to pay a bill but does not mention the bank account to debit, the Assistant will prompt him or her accordingly. Or if a customer has specified an account name in making a request. The Assistant will take this cue and omit information about other accounts.

In 2018, OCBC Bank was the first financial institution in Singapore to enable customers to use their voice for banking.

Voice-based conversational banking is one of our high-conviction bets as we shape the bank of the future . Ordering up and carrying out commonly-used banking services just by talking to their smartphones will make it much easier for our customers to manage, move and multiply their finances on their own terms. We are bullish on the conversational AI and natural language processing technology and will continue to invest in enabling more voice-activated interactions over time.” – Mr Aditya Gupta, Head of Digital Business, Singapore and Malaysia, OCBC Bank.