Commonwealth Bank using emergency services data to find vulnerable customers

Using algorithms to monitor a mix of data points from official emergency sources and weather alert systems to offer support to customers impacted by natural disasters.
Written by Asha Barbaschow, Contributor

The Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) has introduced a new feature that uses emergency services data to determine if its customers require support.

The bank said its new tech uses custom-built algorithms to monitor a mix of data points from official emergency sources and weather alert systems to offer support to those customers impacted by natural disasters.

"The new smart data model analyses and interprets a range of data sources to help the bank accurately contact affected customers the same day to offer assistance, wherever they are located," CBA said.

The offering is touted as allowing for same-day one-on-one support from the bank. It said its tech was used recently in Perth, with 80,000 of its customers impacted by the state's bushfires receiving personalised assistance.

See also: CSIRO and AFAC to build data-driven bushfire prediction platform

"Natural disasters can come out of the blue, and whilst sadly we can't prevent them, we can help notify customers so they can prepare, as well as offer affected customers immediate and personalised support," CBA's chief analytics officer Dr Andrew McMullan said.

The offering forms part of the bank's Customer Engagement Engine.

The Customer Engagement Engine is running about 400 machine learning models and ingesting about 157 billion data points in real-time. CBA CEO Matt Comyn previously said the tool was being used to "coordinate activity and actions to serve up to customers".

"The Customer Engagement Engine, in terms of throughput, is delivering about 35 million decisions per day, it's done in real-time, in less than 300 milliseconds for each of those decisions," he said.

"The scale of that is impressive, but actually what's most important is the value we can then serve up to our customers."

Earlier this month, the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) commenced civil penalty proceedings in the Federal Court against CommSec and Australian Investment Exchange Limited (AUSIEX) for alleged breaches of the Market Integrity Rules, Corporations Act, and ASIC Act relating to systemic compliance failures in the delivery of financial services.

The proceedings relate to regulatory data requirements, trade confirmation requirements, best execution requirements, and reconciliations of client monies.

In addition, for CommSec only, the proceedings relate to brokerage payments, warrant agreement forms, and automated order processing filters, CBA explained.

According to the yellow bank, the issues arose from errors such as IT system coding or systems issues, human error, and/or data entry errors.

It added the only issue where there was any direct financial loss to some customers was in relation to instances of brokerage overcharging.

CommSec has paid total remediation of AU$6.5 million comprising refunds and other compensation payments to customers affected by the issues.

For the first half of the financial year, CBA recorded AU$4.9 billion in statutory net profit after tax.


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