Citigroup to launch voice recognition tech in Asia
Citigroup is planning to launch voice recognition technology to its retail customers, as part of its drive to digital banking.
It says it will be the first bank in Asia to do this and is targeting one million Asian users in a year, according to Anand Selvakesari, Citi’s Asia Pacific head of consumer banking.
Singapore will be first, followed by Australia, Hong Kong, India and Taiwan over the next few months.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Selvakesari says one of the “frustrating points for the client is remembering the password and being asked questions multiple times over”.
He adds that the growth of internet and mobile banking means that about 95% of Citigroup’s retail banking transactions in the region takes place outside the branch network.
The relentless demand for digital banking also pushed the bank to reduce its number of branches in Asia by 9% to 481 compared to Q1 2015, according to a statement from the bank in April.
As the physical side of its operations has shrunk, the digital side has developed – with the addition of one million new digital banking clients, according to James Griffiths, the bank’s Hong Kong-based spokesman.
Citigroup says Asia contributed about 21% of the group’s global consumer banking business by revenue.
Selvakesari says the new technology will allow Citigroup’s Asian customer service division, which receives around 35 million customer calls every year, to cut the average time it takes to validate a client’s identity over the phone to 15 seconds, from 45 seconds previously.
Last year, Citigroup rolled out voice recognition to its credit card customers in the US – the bank’s first use of the technology. According to Selvakesari, about 70% of those customers in the US have enrolled.
There has been a marked rise in the use of voice recognition technology.
Recently, Santander launched voice banking technology in the UK. The solution is provided by US-based Nuance Communications.
HSBC also announced it was launching voice recognition and touch security services in the UK, which will be available to 15 million banking customers. This project is also being carried out with Nuance.