Hong Leong Bank Uses IBM Watson for Cognitive Banking

Hong Leong bank becomes the first bank in Malaysia to utilize IBM Watson to enable customer self-service. The cognitive technology platform will also assist the bank’s call center consultants. It will scrutinize and analyze customer profiles, reports and product info to recognize a customer’s needs and offer various financial options available to them.

IBM developed Watson as a cognitive system capable of answering questions presented in natural language. Watson is also adept in analyzing both structured (data from databases and spreadsheets) and unstructured data (images, audio and video) and present the analytics through visualization.

The full press release:



IBM today announced that Hong Leong Bank Berhad (“Hong Leong Bank”), one of the leading financial services organisations in Malaysia, will leverage IBM Watson to transform its customer engagement model and internal operations to deliver a next generation customer experience.

Hong Leong Bank is the first Malaysian bank to harness the benefits of cognitive computing through the implementation of IBM Watson, a cognitive learning system, which is geared towards further enhancing customer support for its credit card services. In the initial stage of this multi-year programme, IBM Watson cognitive technology would function as an online customer self-service advisor with 24/7 support for cardholder enquiries, as well as an internal service supporting the Bank’s call centre service advisors. IBM Watson will also help the bank’s service advisors analyse large volumes of data, including research reports, product information and customer profiles; identify connections between customers’ needs and weigh the various financial options available to the customers.

ibmSigning ceremony between Hong Leong Bank and IBM

“Customers have come to expect higher levels of integrated and timely service, with an increasing need for exceptional phone and online experience. We need to ensure that our systems are able to anticipate customer needs so that we may proactively provide solutions. The IBM Watson technology provides us this advantage by allowing us to understand the context of customer needs and preferences, which will reduce call waiting time and ensure greater consistency and accuracy of information” said Edward Pinto, Chief Operating Officer for Customer Experience & Analytics, Hong Leong Bank. He added that the initiative forms an important part of Hong Leong Bank’s overall digitisation blueprint.

Through IBM Watson, Hong Leong Bank customers will have round-the-clock access via online live chat to information about general credit card terms, policies, and procedures, as well as to find the most suitable card to match their lifestyle needs.

IBM Malaysia Managing Director, Chong Chye Neo said “Cognitive banking builds upon the personalisation and digitisation trends in banking over the last decade. The future bank is knowledge driven and convenes operations and offerings around its customers and their economic choices. This strategic partnership with Hong Leong Bank Berhad allows them to anticipate and respond to the changing market; and transform the relationship between the bank and its customers.”

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