You love the movie you just watched, and before long, your streaming service is giving you recommendations that are right up your alley. The GPS warns you traffic is getting bad a few miles down the road; better get off at the next exit. That product you need pops up online, along with alternatives that might better meet your needs.
Artificial intelligence (AI) is part of our lives. Regardless of whether we realize we’re using AI when we come in contact with it, AI is something we’ve all come to expect. And when used correctly and ethically, it makes life easier.
Banks are increasingly using AI to improve products and services. At Regions, our use of AI starts and finishes with the customer in mind. That defines how Regions Bank thinks about all user experiences. And it’s especially true when Regions uses and builds AI to enhance the customer experience.
The benefits go beyond convenience. AI significantly helps protect consumers from fraud, too.
Today, fraudsters are quite sophisticated in their schemes. When companies tried to combat fraud with what are called “rule-based” approaches, the fraudsters learned how to win. But through the use of AI, catching and stopping cybercrimes – such as fraudulent withdrawals from a bank account – is much more seamless.
This way, the customers win. The fraud is stopped – often in real-time.
Regions uses AI in a manner that is consistent with our values as an organization, and we are proud to share our AI strategy with consumers. Below, we detail our approach to the ethical use of AI.
The ethical use of AI at Regions
The ethical use of AI receives significant attention at Regions. The bank has developed and adheres to core principles that drive our ethical use of AI. Here are five key examples of how we approach this innovation for our customers:
At all times, we are committed to Regions’ five core values: Putting people first, doing what is right, focusing on our customers, reaching higher and enjoying life. These same values apply to the building and use of AI. We view AI as one important tool among many options designed to meet customer needs. We carefully consider the impact on customers before building or using any AI. That means we take a ‘data products’ approach, where we look at end-to-end solutions as a whole, with AI being one potential component, before building new AI options. Regions takes a people-first, technology-second approach.
The development of AI tools is guided by broad ownership and accountability within the organization. Regions takes a multi-pronged approach. The starting point is a customer need identified by one of our business units. Second, an analytical team puts together a solution; AI is one of many components the team may consider. Third, our risk management division evaluates any potential new AI tools to ensure privacy, remove any potential bias, verify mathematical soundness and assess any other needs. Together, these controls help us keep our focus on the customer while improving services.
3. Rigorous Testing
Unlike less sophisticated modeling and analytical techniques, a common concern has been whether an AI tool’s algorithms may represent a “black box” – a murky framework that doesn’t really provide insight into how the AI tool works. But Regions does rigorous testing to make sure AI solutions are properly vetted. We perform continuous reviews to ensure optimal AI solutions are consistently being delivered to our customers. And we only go to market with a solution when we are confident the algorithms and decisioning provided by an AI tool are designed with customer benefit as top of mind.
4. Diverse and Inclusive Teams
Regions serves a diverse range of customers who have a wide variety of financial needs. And we build diverse and inclusive teams of Regions associates who bring different ideas and perspectives to the table as we design solutions for our customers. By having a diverse workforce, along with enhanced training, thorough considerations of customer impacts, preventative controls, detective controls and the ability to redress any potential issues rapidly, we enhance the responsible and ethical use of AI. In many ways, our teams represent the people we’re serving. So diversity of thought, experiences and viewpoints helps us deliver better solutions.
5. Continuous Learning
Continuous learning is a cornerstone of Regions’ analytic capabilities. From days dedicated to digesting the latest in data science, to “knowledge cafes,” “quant summits” and more, our analytical teams are constantly diving deeper into the tools and technologies that will enhance the banking services of today – while creating even better services for tomorrow. Also, our Regions Analytics Institute is a 12-week training program that further enhances our associates’ skills at building algorithms with high levels of transparency, explainability and replicability, as well as how to test algorithms and data for areas of improvement well before they are launched. Dozens of associates involved in the process have undergone this training, and ongoing learning as technology evolves helps complement Regions’ overall culture of continuous improvement.
Bottom line – we believe all consumers should be able to expect that AI is being implemented in a responsible and ethical manner. And at Regions – they can count it.
Jacob Kosoff serves as senior vice president and Risk Quantitative Model Validation group manager for Regions Bank. Lakshmanan Meyyappan serves as senior vice president managing Regions’ Enterprise Data Science team. Their insights consistently influence how customers interact with the bank and receive financial services in a convenient, seamless manner.