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DBS taps AI and data analytics in intelligent banking move

Singaporean bank has started using artificial intelligence and analytics to provide customers with hyper-personalised insights and recommendations, to win more market share

Singapore’s DBS Bank is doubling down on its use of artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics in a bid to provide retail customers and investors with more personalised services on their mobile devices.

The bank, one of the largest in Southeast Asia, said such “intelligent banking” capabilities, progressively rolled out since the start of 2020, combine predictive analytics and customer-centric design to provide insights that will make it easier for customers to manage their finances and investments.

Speaking at a virtual media briefing today, Lim Sim Seng, DBS Bank’s group head of consumer banking and wealth management, said that by analysing the organisation’s vast trove of customer data, the bank would be able offer investment proposals and recommendations on financial products.

“It’s not just a generic marketing offer – everything has to be hyper-personalised,” said Lim. “This is going to differentiate what a great bank is versus what a good bank is.”

As an example, Lim said the intelligent banking capabilities in the DBS digital banking app can offer insights such as unusual transactions in a customer’s accounts and whether they have enough balances to automate bill payments.

The same capabilities in the bank’s iWealth wealth management app could also recommend stocks that customers could buy in a specific sector based on their investment portfolios or notify them about favourable foreign exchange rates in their trading accounts.

Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, more DBS customers are already using the bank’s intelligent banking features to track their personal balance sheets, according to Jeremy Soo, head of DBS’s consumer banking group.

“In the last six months, we found that many customers have made full use of this insight and realised that they have overspent,” said Soo. “More than 33,000 of them have used this feature to change their spending habits and convert to a net saver.”

Lim said the bank’s move to offer intelligent banking services builds on the work it has done since 2014 to digitise banking operations and services. That includes ongoing efforts to empower relationship managers with more insights about their clients.

Read more about digital transformation at DBS Bank

This will enable relationship managers to strike the right conversations with clients based on their investment portfolios and interests, enabling them to be more productive, said Lim. “Their productivity will go up exponentially and they can serve their customers better,” he added.

In a developed market such as Singapore, where there is little room for growth, Lim said these intelligent banking capabilities will help DBS win more market share and deepen its engagement with customers.

Asked how the bank measures the success of its intelligent banking capabilities, Lim said the efforts should result in higher growth in DBS’s fee income, greater use of digital banking to buy and sell equities, and a lower volume of customer phone calls.

According to DBS, the number of investment transactions made via its iWealth app rose by 217% from June to August 2020 compared with the equivalent period last year, while the number of customers who signed up for its digibank mobile app grew by 216%.

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