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Science
11 Nov 2016

City Union Bank deploys India's first banking robot in Chennai

India's first banking robot Lakshmi has made her debut in Chennai.

Kumbakonam-based City Union Bank launched the artificial intelligence powered robot and also plans to launch her in other branches.

The first onsite bank helper is endearing and interactive along with being super fast with data.

It took over six months for Lakshmi to be developed; she can intelligently answer on over 125 subjects.

In context

Lakshmi - India's first banking robot

Bank's automation process

Lakshmi cost CUB around Rs.7-8 lakh and can save work for three to four persons; the robot would be integrated with the bank's automation process. HDFC Bank is also experimenting with robots to answer queries and is testing a robot at its innovation lab.

Humanoid Lakshmi

More robots could be deployed by the end of 2016

City Union Bank currently developed one version of the Humanoid Lakshmi.

It plans for 25-30 robots deployed at its key branches by the end of 2016 if the robot proves a hit with the customers.

The bank was planning Lakshmi's public debut on Thursday at T.Nagar Branch; but due to the rush because of the demonetization drive, Lakshmi might go public on Monday.

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Banking Queries

Banking queries? Lakshmi can answer it all

The banking robot can help customers know their account balance, loan interest rates, deferred payments, possible charges on fixed deposit closure, etc.

CUB MD & CEO Kamakodi said Lakshmi can answer all banking queries except generic questions; she can connect to the core banking solution.

He added, if someone wants to know his account balance/transaction history, Lakshmi can flash the answer on its display.

Sensitive financial information

City Union Bank MD & CEO Kamakodi said sensitive financial information are only displayed discreetly on Lakshmi's display and not voiced. He added, "Lakshmi only talks out loud on generic subjects."

Working

Lakshmi engages in a life-like manner in conversations

Lakshmi can currently speak English, gestures, turns around, and engages in a life-like manner in conversations.

Unlike most robots, Lakshmi's speech isn't formal but more relaxed and casual.

The artificial intelligence powered robot can continuously learn from customers; the more interactions with clients, the better the robot gets.

If Lakshmi can't answer a question, she asks the customer to contact the branch manager.

Services

Lakshmi may provide more services in the future

The bank would collect all the questions Lakshmi was unable to answer and equip her with better data sets so that she can serve better.

She can give real-time updates of foreign exchange movement, interest rates at banks for various asset classes like educational, personal, two-wheeler, home loans or charges on deposits/withdrawals.

She might be able to provide more services in the future.

Greet customers in Tamil

The bank plans to program Lakshmi to greet customers in Tamil. Kamakodi said, "We are looking at enabling it so that it can service visually challenged individuals. Very few banks employ robots at branches, and we want to bring a whole new experience to India."

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