UBank launches 'digital human' home loan assistant

Marco Green
February 13, 2019

"Those home loan applicants who require the most guidance, such as first homebuyers or those with complex financial needs, are unlikely to know which questions they need to ask these technologies in order to secure the right home loan for their situation".

Digital bank UBank will launch an AI-powered assistant to help its customers in the process of applying for a home loan.

Today, two-time Mozo Experts Choice Best Online Bank Award victor, UBank announced it will be introducing the world's first AI-powered home loan application assistant.

Customers will be able to speak to Mia day and night, and she will answer more than 300 of the most common questions customers have about the home loan application journey, so they will have a smarter, more connected experience.

UBank has always said that its use of bots is not about reducing the number of actual customer service staff it employs. The virtual assistant is also inclined to use gifs and animations during chats.

"By bringing Mia to life, we're giving customers a whole new way to interact with their online home loan application and completely challenging the perception of a digital bank", said UBank chief executive Lee Hatton.

"We're partnering with technology leaders all the time to build a diverse support ecosystem for our customers, and this partnership with FaceMe is a great example of this", said Hatton.

NAB-owned UBank is expanding its use of bots to help customers complete home loan applications, creating a "virtual human" called Mia that customers can talk to.

UBank's experience with Robochat - and the fact it is based on Watson - meant that designing and implementing FaceMe has been reasonably streamlined.

The assistant is delivered by FaceMe - which Hatton described as "an awesome group of Kiwis" - the company behind similar advisors being rolled out by UBS Global Wealth Management, Auckland International Airport and ASB Bank.

The company is also involved in the Nadia avatar project for the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS), which is voiced by Cate Blanchett.

"What we love about this opportunity with FaceMe is the chance to innovate in the digital space, staying true to our roots, but finding a new way to connect more deeply with our customers".

"A home loan is one of the biggest and most stressful decisions you can make, and having that face-to-face engagement helps [UBank] to build emotional connection with the customer".

The AI-driven loan adviser has been named Mia (My Interactive Assistant) and is developed by FaceMe.

The platform will be multi-modal and takes input from computer vision, speech and text.

"There are rates, there is information but ultimately how we often differentiate the brand is through customer experience", chief executive Danny Tomsett said.

Soul Machines is behind customer-facing virtual assistants at ANZ Bank, European vehicle maker Daimler, Air New Zealand and United Kingdom bank Natwest.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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