NAB to bring ‘customer brain’ to life in 2023

NAB Mentis data brain

NAB is set to unlock a hotly anticipated customer personalisation and prediction capability within the next year, with the bank’s chief digital, data and analytics officer, Angela Mentis, revealing further details today on its omnichannel-ready “customer brain”.

The “customer brain”, using NAB’s customer data assets, will be able to pre-empt not only the optimal time but also the best channel (whether digital, phone, or human) and right messaging to effectively engage with customers.

Speaking at an Australian British Chamber of Commerce lunch event in Sydney today, Mentis said the technology will be able to “anticipate a customers’ needs and put meaningful value in their hands”.

“And we can do this digitally and at scale, through data and analytics.”

She said the “brain” will utilise existing data – “all that we know” – gathered about its customers “to deliver human-like, personal experiences, that are relevant for the moment, in any channel – digital or human, inbound or outbound”.

“We can see when customers are struggling financially, we know when they’re not using all of the features of their accounts and we understand that they want to know how their loan application is progressing.”

“Imagine if, rather than having to come to us, we are reaching out to them and we’re doing it consistently across any channel that they’re in.”

In initial use case trials of the technology, Mentis said that the bank had seen “a 43 per cent increase in customers clicking on a banner because it’s just more relevant to the customers who are seeing that banner”.

“It also means enabling our relationship bankers to be exceptional and valued. To equip them with the insights for our business customers to help them run and grow their businesses.

“We can take what the very best bankers do every day and systematically put that in the hands of all of our bankers.”

100-point ID check standing in the way of ConnectID

Mentis also gently urged for reform of Australia’s more than three-decade-old identity verification rules – based on the ‘100-point ID check’ system – to ensure the industry-led ConnectID verification system can take full flight.

This, she said, would be necessary to bring Australia’s ID verification system and its security into the digital era.

The 100-point ID check scheme (requiring verification of a combination of government-issued identity documents, including a passport, driver’s licence, or citizenship certificate), Mentis said, was prescribed by law back in 1988, “before there was any imagining of the digital era we would find ourselves in today”.

Current identity verification rules require customers to hand over details or copies of these identity documents to companies to perform identity checks, with these businesses in many cases retaining this data.

Implicitly citing the recent high-profile data hacks, including the Optus and Medibank breaches, Mentis called for “more secure ways for customers to meet identification requirements, without the repeated passing and storing of personally identifiable information across multiple organisations”.

The ConnectID system, which is set to launch next year, is a collaborative project between Australia’s big four banks and the payments standards authority, Australian Payments Plus (AP+), to create an “open, standards-based national identity infrastructure”.

The ConnectID system does not, itself, store identity data, but instead serves as a ‘data broker’, using a select number of trusted identity service providers – including the big four banks – to store customer identity information within their secure systems. Companies that require ID verification can tap into these secure repositories to cross-check a customer’s identity without having to hold the information themselves – ultimately, reducing the number of companies that hold this sensitive PII data.

Advocating for the system back in August, Mentis said “ConnectID gives customers full control to use only data that is absolutely necessary when completing identity verifications; they will be able to do things like digitally prove their age rather than passing over their driver’s license for the same purpose.”

Mentis added in her presentation today: “This is an initiative which is focused on delivering a safer, more secure, more convenient way for our customers to prove that they are who they say they are based on a verified digital identification”.

While Digital Identity is now widely used to access Australian Government services, legislation to enable private sector organisations to use digital identification is still awaiting passage through parliament. ConnectID has, however, been accredited within the Trusted Digital Identity Framework (TDIF).