Banks’ cautious approach to generative AI is more internal than customer-facing


Generative artificial intelligence (AI) has quickly become one of the most important topics of our time, and global banks are beginning to explore the possibilities of the technology so as not to miss out on the impact it is poised to have on the financial services sector.
Citi CEO Jane Fraser recently expressed the importance of banks embracing generative AI, months after the global U.S. bank reportedly restricted employees’ use of the AI-powered chatbot.
According to Fraser, the risks of dismissing the technology, despite concerns around regulatory clarity, ethical implications and scalability, far outweigh the risks of engaging with it.
“In the near term, generative AI will drastically improve productivity. Over the long term, it has the potential to revolutionize all functions across our bank and the industry — changing how we write code, onboard clients, service customers, detect fraud, develop market research and strengthen compliance and controls,” she said.
Fraser also outlined principles Citi is following to integrate generative AI into their processes, including taking a safe and responsible approach and finding the unique why behind the need to capitalize on the technology.
“We are not chasing some shiny object,” she noted. “The investments and mindshare we’re devoting to generative AI are because we think it will help us accelerate our transformation efforts and run the bank more efficiently and at greater speeds and scale.”
That said, banks are still keen to uphold the value placed on human input and recognize the critical need for human intelligence despite AI’s transformative potential. As Fraser said, “Citi will always be a human bank, and AI can and will help amplify the power of our people.”

More Internal Than Customer-Facing

One of the concerns Fraser raised was around the lack of regulatory clarity and user guardrails, a reason why financial institutions (FI) may be limiting their use to improving efficiency of internal tasks before exploring broader customer-facing use cases.
Goldman Sachs, for example, has made available an AI-powered networking platform called Louisa to help employees network at a time when many are working remotely. The tool uses companies’ databases to automatically create user profiles for employees and takes information from news feeds to connect people who have similar interests. 
“Think of Louisa as an AI-powered LinkedIn on steroids,” Louisa founder and CEO Rohan Doctor told CNBC in March. “We have smart profiles and a smart network, and Louisa reads millions of articles a week from 250 providers and begins connecting people.”
The platform, funded by the investment bank, went independent in May after being spun off from the bank’s international incubator, PYMNTS reported
Last month, Deutsche Bank said it was exploring how to use generative AI to automate process-driven tasks and increase productivity, particularly for junior bankers reviewing comparables and company reports in its dealmaking unit.
“We are assessing these tools and they can be a game-changer for some of the work we do,” Fabrizio Campelli, head of the corporate and investment bank at the German lender, said per the Financial News. “A lot of these technical and data-driven processes are still led by people, and generative AI has the potential to successfully automate them. That is definitely something we are looking into.”
In March, Morgan Stanley announced it is testing an OpenAI-powered chatbot to enable its 16,000 financial advisers to sift through massive amounts of internal research data for relevant information instead of relying on content from the internet.
“You essentially have the knowledge of the most knowledgeable person in Wealth Management — instantly. We believe that is a transformative capability for our company,” said Jeff McMillan, head of analytics, data and innovation for Morgan Stanley Wealth Management.
The internal-facing service is based on GPT-4, OpenAI’s most advanced system, and comes on the heels of several AI projects the institution has initiated in recent years.




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