Swedish Banks to Adopt Chatbots

Swedish banks are now adopting chatbots to sort out simple tasks while freeing up staff to handle more difficult work.

Aida, virtual customer-service representative at SEB AB, is a model employee who is always polite and “always at work, 24/7, 365 days a year.”

Following a surge in digital and online banking, Sweden’s financial industry is now proving to be a leader in AI. Besides Aida at SEB, Nova works in Nordea Bank 's life and pensions unit and Nina serves as a virtual assistant at Swedbank. The three chatbots are all female personas, as research suggests that customers are more at ease with female voices.

Johan Torgeby, the chief executive officer of SEB explains, “There are some frequent, simple tasks that we need to deal with manually today, and in that effort we’re looking into AI to see how we can deploy it and Aida is one.”

According to Mattias Fras, head of robotics, strategy and innovation at Nordea, AI “is a way to return to full service again.” In the long run, Nordea’s chatbot will help customers with investment advice, canceling credit cards and opening savings accounts.

In view of the steep drop of satisfaction scores amounting to a 20-year low after numerous branch closures, AI could be an effective remedy. Swedbank, which already employs its chatbot Nina, sees technology as a way of helping customers adapt to the digital age.

Petra Stenqvist, a partner at Pond, states that AI “will never be able to replace subjective assessments”, although “it will be able to contribute to better decision making.” Thanks to the massive memory storage of AI, “individuals will be able to find out things about themselves that they didn’t even know”.