Banks, bots and artificial intelligence (AI) were the major automation themes across Bank Automation News’ most popular “The Buzz” podcasts in 2021. Listen as the BAN team dives deeply into issues that will continue to be pressing challenges in 2022. Our top five most listened-to podcasts are:
Anand Subbaraman, Finastra’s senior vice president and general manager of cloud, core and digital banking, says there are three strategies that banks need to embrace moving into 2022. In this podcast, he explains why banks need to build a broader product portfolio, bring on new technologies such as blockchain, and embrace regulatory challenges as a business issue.
“We are starting to see the financial institutions, in order to grow, have to look at their product portfolio, which includes all kinds of products — the payments, lending, deposits — to make sure they offer a complete, holistic view for an end customer to essentially grab as much of the customer’s banking as possible,” Subbaraman tells BAN.
Banks should prepare for the “platform of platforms” economy, warns Jeremy Balkin, JPMorgan’s head of fintech and innovation, wholesale payments. While the phrase is a mouthful, it just refers to one platform connecting to other platforms — as ride app Uber has accomplished.
Balkin must have been listening to BAN’s podcast with Tim Tyler, a senior principal in solutions consulting with financial software provider Finastra. Tyler said that some commercial banks were becoming platform players that offer a full ecosystem of third-party products and services to clients.
In this podcast, learn about the paths commercial banks are pursuing and how automation plays a part in them.
Attended bots and digital assistants for employees are expected to be among the hottest robotic process automation (RPA) trends in the next few years, RPA vendor Automation Anywhere’s Ken Mertzel, global industry leader of financial services, and Catherine Calarco, senior director and head of global go-to-market, tell BAN. In this podcast, the two share RPA use cases they see in the field and give their own industry predictions.
RPA could serve as a digital assistant for financial services employees within five years, enabling and automating everyday tasks, Mertzel says. For instance, a bot might supply a customer service agent with essential real-time data about a customer, then automatically launch collaboration with loan officers.
Explainable AI became one of the hot emerging topics in 2021, and for good reason — it takes what is essentially a “black box” and provides insight into how it works, a development that could help ease regulatory concerns about AI and fairness.
To learn more about explainable AI, BAN speaks with Stuart Tarmy, global director of financial services industry solutions at Aerospike, which offers a NoSQL, or nontabular, nonrelational database that powers real-time networks for PayPal, Visa and Charles Schwab. Tarmy drills down into explainable AI, which he describes as “almost an artificial intelligence system on top of an artificial intelligence system, to explain how it’s making decisions,” and details the advantages it can provide to regulated industries like banking.
This year brought attention to the dangers of unethical AI and the corresponding need to “teach” ethics to AI models. In this, our most listened-to podcast of 2021, Stephen Thomas, head of the analytics and AI ecosystem at the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University in Canada, discusses with BAN how it may be more valuable to inform the model about demographics than to remove demographics from data sets.
“If we tell the [AI] model what the gender is, it can account for that difference and bias,” Thomas explains. “It’s helpful for the model to be less biased … because otherwise, due to historical, societal prejudices, an average woman might look worse than an average male for no reason other than that she’s a woman.”
Thomas also shares best practices for creating ethical AI platforms in this episode of “The Buzz.”
Bank Automation Summit, taking place March 1-2 in Charlotte, N.C., is the first and only event to focus solely on automation in banking. The event will feature the brightest minds from across financial services on intelligent automation strategies and deployment. Learn more and register for Bank Automation Summit 2022.