Brazilian banks lead in artificial intelligence planning

The number of institutions that see AI as important to their strategies is higher than other countries - but number of real case studies is still small.

The number of Brazilian banks that see artificial intelligence (AI) as a strategic priority is higher than many mature markets, according to research.

About 30 percent of local institutions see AI playing an important role in their innovation plans, according to GFT Technologies' Digital Banking Expert Survey.

By comparison, 23 percent of sector firms in the UK and Mexico see AI as crucial in their strategy, while only 17 percent of US banks perceive the technology as an important aspect of their overall plans, the study from the financial services vendor says.

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The survey covered 285 professionals from small to large retail banks based in Brazil, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Spain, Switzerland, the UK and the US.

Brazilian firms may be enthusiastic about the potential of artificial intelligence for tasks such as automating customer service and achieving greater customer engagement, but the country still struggles with issues ranging from infrastructure, lack of qualified manpower and effective partnerships with AI vendors and fintechs - that means the number of real initiatives is still small.

Banking giant Bradesco is the highest profile supporter of AI technology in Brazil and has been piloting IBM's Watson for over a year. Earlier this year, the bank has announced its plans to make its Watson-based artificial intelligence system available to end consumers.

The platform, dubbed Bradesco Inteligência Artificial, or BIA, had only used internally to answer client requests. With the added customer-facing functionality, the bank expects to enable clients to carry out tasks such as transfers, payments and mobile phone top-ups by interacting with a Watson-powered chatbot.

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