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OCBC forms AI unit

OCBC forms AI unit

Singapore-headquartered OCBC Bank is establishing an artificial intelligence (AI) unit to develop its in-house capabilities.

With an initial investment of $10 million over three years, the unit is expected to drive the adoption of AI across banking services, such as wealth advisory and loans financing.

Pranav Seth, head of e-business, business transformation and fintech and innovation group, said: ‘The time to act on AI is now! It is integral to digital banking, or what we call “the new digital.'

The unit sits within the fintech and innovation group at the bank and comprises three data scientists, led by Ken Wong. There are plans to double the headcount within a year.

Called AI Lab@TOV, it will use OCBC Bank’s data sandbox and application programme interfaces to experiment with real-life customer data and generate proofs-of-concept before integrating AI solutions into the bank’s existing systems.

OCBC has partnered with the Agency for Science, Technology and Research for natural language and speech processing technologies, as well as Amazon Web Services DeepLens for deep learning technology.

‘With the set-up of our very own AI lab, we are able to experiment for the first time with deep learning neural networks and graphics processing units, which are heavily used in the gaming industry and hardly used in banking,’ Wong said in a statement.

The unit will also serve as a training centre for the bank’s data analysts and technologists, running workshops on AI modelling and predictive machine learning.

Internal hackathons will also be organised to extract new ideas from OCBC Bank employees across different banking divisions on the use of AI for various aspects of banking.

In July last year, OCBC piloted AI-based solutions from BlackSwan Technologies and Silent Eight to counter money laundering and terrorism financing.

It also partnered with Fintech firm, Thetaray, to use its AI solution to identify potential suspicious transactions, reducing the workload of compliance analysts by 35%.

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