Steward Bank taps into Artificial Intelligence

Steward Bank CEO, Mr Courage Mashavave
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STEWARD Bank Zimbabwe says it will be increasing its focus towards tapping into the use of Artificial Intelligence (AI) as it anchors the bulk of its products on technology-driven approaches so as to improve the quality of customer service.

AI is generally defined as the ability of a digital computer or computer-controlled robot to perform tasks commonly associated with intelligent beings.

The term is frequently applied to the project of developing systems endowed with the intellectual processes characteristic of humans, such as the ability to reason, discover meaning, generalise, or learn from past experience.

The bank’s board chairman, Mr Bernard Chidzero, said the financial institution is leveraging on AI to glean insights into its customer’s transactional behaviour in the future, thereby equipping it with a more informed relationship management programmes that seek to improve overall customer experience.

“From a digital customer experience and loyalty perspective, the bank used its branches as digital on boarding centres in a bid to ensure that customers have seamless access to our digital platforms,” he said.

“The bank also leveraged on Artificial Intelligence to glean insights into its customer’s transactional behaviour in the future thereby equipping it with a more informed relationship management programme that seeks to improve overall customer experience,” said Mr Chidzero in the report accompanying the financial statement for the year ended 28 February 2023.

During the period under review, the bank took a position to acquire a new core banking system that was meant to drive its digitisation strategy, which it subsequently implemented.

Mr Chidzero said retrospectively, the new system has been instrumental towards the successes unlocked in the year in review.

“The bank saw improvements in its service delivery across its digital channels with the end result being an improvement in its customer service metrics, which were above industry standards, mainly attributed to system stability, faster transaction processing time and increased system capacity brought about by the new core banking system,” he said.

“The new system has more to offer as the bank looks to leverage it on Artificial Intelligence to better serve its customers.

“The bank looks to anchor the bulk of its processes and products on Artificial Intelligence ranging from back office functions to service delivery. As such, most of the bank’s digital innovations will look to understand the customer and customise the products.”

Chief executive officer, Mr Courage Mashavave, also noted that banks look forward to leveraging AI across its platforms, service delivery, and products to enhance the overall customer experience.

“Leveraging on AI, the bank will deliver an Omni channel experience that not only seeks to address our customer needs but also seeks to understand and deliver services before they even highlight that they need them,” he said.

Mr Mashavave said this will be done through machine learning and other innovations around artificial word of mouth and recommendation systems.

Meanwhile, the bank delivered an improved performance as net interest income grew by 58 percent from ZWL$6,2 billion to ZWL$9,9 billion on the back of increased USD-based lending.

“Similarly, the bank’s profit for the year recorded a 373 percent increase from ZWL3,2 billion to ZWL14,9 billion. The growth in profitability is largely attributed to our digital banking pillar that has seen an improved performance over the period,” said Steward.

The financial institution indicated that despite the significant movement in exchange rates over the period, it managed to maintain its capital levels above the US$30 million regulatory equivalent. – Chronicle