Monday, 11 February 2019 11:14

UBank, FaceMe claim ‘world first’ digital home loan assistant Featured

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UBank digital loan assistant Mia UBank digital loan assistant Mia

Australian digital bank UBank says its “world first” digital home loan application assistant, powered by artificial intelligence, will be available in Australia for the first time in late February.

UBank says Mia — short for My Interactive Agent — will begin taking customer questions in late February, with the aim of creating a “smarter, simpler home loan application experience”.

Created in partnership with FaceMe, a provider of AI-powered ‘digital humans’ for customer service, UBank says Mia represents a leap forward in chatbot technology and gives a digital face to its home loan experience.

“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.

UBank boats that Mia is the “ultimate UBank team member with in-depth product knowledge and a cheeky personality – even using fun gifs and animations during her chats”.

The bank says customers will speak directly to Mia via their desktop or mobile device to ask her questions about the home loan application – anything from what’s a variable rate to what classifies as an expense.

And, UBank says 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”.

The bank says the Mia persona was crafted with the customer in mind – “they want to talk to someone smart, empathetic, trustworthy and someone that doesn’t use bank jargon”.

According to UBank, Mia will complement the bank’s home loan chatbot, RoboChat, and the Live Chat experience with UBank’s advisers, to help customers apply for a home loan.

Ubank says to begin, Mia will be launched as a pilot to a selection of customers applying for a UBank home loan, with the view of her engaging with every customer who wants help during the application process.

“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.

“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. It also helps that the FaceMe team is an awesome group of Kiwis.”

FaceMe chief executive Danny Tomsett said: “Our vision is to enable leading companies like UBank to create more meaningful and valuable experiences for their customers. Mia offers an emotionally connected experience for servicing customers making an exciting and important life decision. We are very excited about the opportunity to work with UBank and further validate the evolution of digital customer experience.”

Mia is the third AI-enabled project from UBank, following the 2017 introduction of RoboChat, claimed as Australia’s first chatbot to help customers with their home loan applications, and the 2018 roll out of RoboBrain, a one-stop portal of valuable information.

According to UBank, to date, AI-driven projects have been well received with four in five customers saying they’re happy to use RoboChat – and RoboChat has also answered more than 50,000 questions to date, roughly 86 questions per day since launch.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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