Leigh on Lee: How UBank’s MIA is shaping AI in the financial services industries


“Customers are happy for their bank to be anonymous, so long as it works. One of the pieces that’s been the essence of our brand has been about simpler, better and smarter banking.”

Hatton reiterates customers’ sentiment, “How is it that [I] can have this bank that gives me a bit of freedom, a bit of liberation, without letting financial services get in the road… I wish had more time”

She goes on to say that UBank’s CX strategy is about trying to “take time out of the equation for them,” in order to provide a more efficient experience.

Leigh Sales: “So who or what is MIA?”

“MIA is a real part of the UBank team.” She goes on to say MIA was designed to solve one of the major pain points for customers in the home loan markets. Filling out the home loan application.

“Since 2016/17, we’ve been experimenting with IBM and the Watson team to really look at the ways to use AI to make things simple.”

New Zealand-born Hatton quipped that despite her accent, there was no bias in UBank’s decision to partner with Auckland based AI software and technology company FaceMe to launch “MIA”.

“We took the opportunity to take MIA to the next level and have her answer questions for customers in the comfort of their own home, giving them the experimentation and delight of experiencing a virtual assistant in a different way.”

“What we found was that 80% of the calls that we were taking into our contact centre were really consistent and were pretty simple questions.“

Queries such as“what is a fixed rate?” or “how do I calculate my expenses?” can now be answered by MIA at the touch of a spacebar, 24/7.

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