BSP targets live ‘chatbot’ in 2020
Lawrence Agcaoili (The Philippine Star) - September 13, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (BSP) is set to launch a ‘chatbot’ as it continues to embrace artificial intelligence in efficiently handling consumer concerns.

The ‘chatbot’ is envisioned to equip the regulator with more insight into customer experiences, banking practices and conduct as input to policymaking and supervision and develop consumers’ trust in the financial system.

“The chatbot is expected to go live in mid-2020,” the BSP said in a statement.

From the existing manual process to using AI and natural language processing (NLP), the ‘chatbot’ will be able to adequately and efficiently handle consumer concerns coursed through channels including SMS and social media.

The ‘chatbot’ will also provide the public a more accessible and efficient means to engage the BSP on financial consumer concerns.

Currently, the public could access the consumer assistance mechanism of the BSP by visiting in person or by telephone, post or e-mail.

The BSP’s Consumer Empowerment Group relies heavily on manual processes and relatively outdated technologies such as direct mails and calls to handle complaints and queries and provide resolution.

A third of the complaints that come in are not even related to institutions BSP supervises.

Data showed the BSP received 3,392 complaints, inquiries, and requests in the first quarter, of which 51 percent was accounted for by credit card related and electronic banking concerns.

In 2018, banking related complaints almost doubled to 20,000 from 10,930 in 2017. However, only 11,172 complaints were found valid.

Credit card has consistently been the top category of concern processed by CEG, accounting for 30 percent or 3,391 last year, with perceived unauthorized online and point-of-sale transactions as the primary issue, while e-banking issues particularly unauthorized withdrawal or transaction cornered 27 percent or 3,019.

The BSP has also developed an API-based prudential reporting system as part of its continuing efforts to strengthen its supervisory capacity in a rapidly evolving financial services landscape.

By providing a machine-to-machine link between the banks’ core banking systems and BSP’s system, the system allows for the streamlined transmission, processing, warehousing, and analysis of the banks’ prudential reports.

“This will significantly improve the timeliness, ease, and integrity of data submission,” the central bank said.

Preparations are underway to move the system to cover all universal, commercial, and thrift banks for a total of 96 institutions. The system now covers 19 banks from a pilot run covering two banks.

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