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ICICI Bank brings software robots to its branches

One million transactions processed through these robots every working day

By Salil Panchal Forbes India Staff
Published: Sep 8, 2016

Life is not a template and neither is mine. Like several who have worked as journalists, I am a generalist in my over two decade experience across print, global news wires and dotcom firms. But there has been one underlying theme in each phase; life gave me the chance to observe and tell a story -- from early days tracking a securities scam to terror attacks and some of India's most significant court trials. Besides writing, I have jumped fences to become an entrepreneur, as an investment advisor -- and also taught the finer aspects of business journalism to young minds. At Forbes India, I also keep an eye on some of its proprietary specials like the Rich list, GenNext and Celebrity lists. An alumnus of Xavier Institute of Communications and H.R College of Commerce and Economics in Mumbai, I have worked for organisations such as Agence France-Presse, Business Standard, The Financial Express and The Times of India prior to this.

Image: Vikas Khot

India’s largest private sector lender by assets, announced on Thursday that it had started using software robotics to re-engineer about 200 business processes across several functions of the bank.  These are mostly in the areas of retail banking operations, agri-business, trade and forex, treasury and human resource management.

The bank has implemented the software robotics platform mostly in-house, leveraging recent advancements in artificial intelligence such as facial and voice recognition, natural language processing, machine learning and bots, it said in a statement.

This comes after rival private HDFC Bank had announced in August that it plans to introduce a robot – through its project AI (artificial intelligence) – at one of its front offices. This is likely to be introduced in about a month’s time, to enhance customer experience in banking.

ICICI Bank said that software robots have reduced the response time by about 60 percent and increased accuracy to 100 percent. ICICI Bank said it plans to more than double its use of software robotics to about 500 by the end of March 2017.

The software robots now perform over one million banking transactions on each working day.

ICICI Bank’s software robots are configured to interpret information from systems, recognize patterns and run business processes across several applications to execute activities such as data entry and validation, automated formatting, multi-format message creation, text mining, workflow acceleration, reconciliations and currency exchange rate processing.

“This initiative marks a milestone in the Indian banking industry,” Chanda Kochhar, managing director and CEO of ICICI bank, said. The bank now joins a select group of overseas organisations which have deployed robotic technology on a large scale.

ICICI Bank services its customers through a network of 4,451 branches, 14,073 ATMs, call center, internet and mobile banking. ICICI Bank has innovated processes and functions relating to internet banking, tab banking, touch banking branches and social media operations.

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