Mr. Keremidchiev, UniCredit Bulbank recently launched a new functionality for its corporate clients. Can you tell us a bit more about it?
Yes, In July we activated a brand new functionality in Bulbank Online, which is now available in the menu Digital Products in the digital banking for all legal entities, clients of the Bank. The new functionality gives our clients the opportunity to see the dynamics of twelve key financial indicators of companies, presented in a handy and intuitive graphic style, as well as the option to generate comparative analysis on those KPIs, with the performance of the top five competitors in the same or different sector, by chosen criteria (i.e. size of the company, turnover). In this way, our clients have access to useful summaries of the information from the annual financial statements, as well as a fast and easy way to compare with other market participants or to research the reliability and potential of new clients, partners and distributors. Beyond this, the new functionality supports our clients in discovering new potential opportunities for expanding their business in different sectors by providing average KPI’s for the sector, top performing companies, sector analysis, etc. Currently, the access to the service is exclusively available without charge to all legal entity clients of UniCredit Bulbank, so those interested can register in order to test it for free. Our main goal now is to receive the opinion of our users and to further enhance and develop our platform, based on their feedback. We are living in fast-paced digital times and for us, as a financial institution, it is a strategic focus to meet and even exceed clients’ rising expectations and to offer propositions and experiences that are smart and customised.
How was AI deployed with respect to this particular functionality?
AI is considered as one of the technologies that is fundamentally changing the financial industry. The new functionality – Digital products, is based on smart algorithms, comparative analysis and graphic representation of the collected data. This is just the initial stage of the enhancement of our digital banking offering - Bulbank Online as a virtual ecosystem. In the next months we will further expand the options with new functionalities where Robotic process automation (RPA) will be applied, in this regard AI will help to provide a deep instant analytical picture. Our plans are to develop the section with the ability to quickly process large amounts of data and predict the latest market and consumer trends. Using advanced machine learning techniques will guide us to provide data that evaluate market sentiments and behavioural traits. This can only lead to higher quality of services, more responsive suggestions and will make the functionality even more attractive for our clients.
What is the current scope of the new functionality and do you plan to expand it?
The current functionality – menu Digital products, includes two sections: Client analysis and Industry analysis. In the future it will cover customer behaviour profile and ever more functionalities including cash management flow, forecasting and even more. By enabling access to a diverse set of data through a common access point –Bulbank Online, we are providing a complete digital ecosystem to transform the way our clients evaluate and develop their own businesses. Based on focus interviews with our clients, we understand better their needs, expectations and their behaviour. This enables us to customise the new services by adding sought-after features and intuitive interactions to deliver meaningful customer engagement.
The banking sector is no exception to the demand for increased digitization and smart decisions that aid corporate clients in their decision-making process. Does Unicredit have an in-house AI team and do you plan to develop further your capabilities in that area?
According to a study by Intone Networks, AI has positively transformed the banking and the financial services industry in different fields from credit decisions to securities trading and fraud detection and prevention. We have multiple departments engaged and working on the digital development and the digital intelligence of the Bank, which are maturing every day, and bringing the potential for higher-complexity solutions that generate positive feedback. Therefore, we cannot say that our digitization units are focused on one thing and only on one functional area.
We invest in the culture of digital understanding across the organisation. We always try to find new opportunities in the digital world and ensure optimal client experience and satisfaction in order to build long-term relationships, partnerships and customer loyalty. We are aiming to use more and more AI software to detect even the slightest movement on the market, because every company needs to analyse every single transaction in large data sets. With the help of AI this is possible and we further improve our capacity to plough through mountains of data in a short time and, with precision, flag anomalies that aid in risk assessment and mitigation.
Although we still face operational and organisational challenges, with which we are making great strides in terms of implementation and adoption, we are also discovering the beauty of it all during the process of discovery and elaboration. Moreover, we will continue to build the technological foundations and processes necessary to move forward into the future, because without digital solutions, we would not even get close to the level of data analysis we are at right now.