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Tue 9 Jul 2019 08:29 AM

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Banks should encourage blockchain companies, says Rakbank CEO

Rakbank uses blockchain to send fast cross-border payments to Axis Bank beneficiaries in India

Banks should encourage blockchain companies, says Rakbank CEO
Rakbank is increasingly utilising AI technology to help engage with customers in the form of an interactive and cognitive chatbot that allows bank employees to quickly route pending request to human advisors.

Banks have an important role to play in bolstering companies that are working to develop blockchain technology, according to Rakbank CEO Peter England. 

In an interview with Arabian Business, England said that APIs (application programme interface) and distributed ledger technology present “an opportunity to change the way international payments are handled.”

“Blockchain technologies do have the potential to disrupt the financial services industry and create a gap in the market for innovative solutions, which is why banks need to embrace opportunities rather than resist challengers,” he said. 

In November 2017, Rakbank announced that it would be using RippleNet to send live, fast and frictionless cross-border payments to Axis Bank beneficiaries in just minutes. 

“The age of blockchain-powered, instant, low-cost bank remittances is quickly taking shape and we see this as a trend that will carve out its own niche,” England added. “Appetite for technology improves economic participation and competition and there is clearly a role for banks to play in developing and supporting companies engaged in blockchain.” 

Engage with customers

England added that Rakbank is increasingly utilising AI technology to help engage with customers in the form of an interactive and cognitive chatbot that allows bank employees to quickly route pending request to human advisors. 

“The chatbot is unique as it has analytic capabilities and can even detect the mood and emotional state of employees, modifying responses as it deems appropriate,” England said. “By using AI technology to power our chatbot, our employees are able to get answers to their queries easily and in real time.” 
Rakbank is still in the “initial stages” of its AI framework and is working internally on building its capabilities, he added. 

“As investment into innovation and technology increases, we anticipate strong appetite to integrate AI into customer-facing applications,” England said. 

Rakbank posted a 13.2 percent rise in full-year 2018 net profit to AED 917.5 million.

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