AI is not just something for financial institutions to take on, but it’s also increasingly essential, and affordable, for SMEs themselves. Luis Rodriguez, Chief Product Officer at Strands, shared insights on how to effectively bring AI into small businesses.

Luis Rodriguez, Chief Product Officer at Strands, participating in the “AI in Banking” panel Luis Rodriguez, Chief Product Officer at Strands, participating in the “AI in Banking” panel.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve heard the acronyms “AI” and “ML” used when referring to the digital transformation of all industries in the last few years, and SMEs and the financial sector are no exception.

Last week, the Global SME Finance Forum hosted a panel exclusively devoted to addressing this topic: how AI in banking can help small business unleash their full potential. Luis Rodríguez, Chief Product Officer at Strands, took part in the discussion and shared the common applications of AI and ML in the digital money management space.

“Banks can be a great vehicle to insert AI systems in their SME banking. They have a great opportunity to leverage this technology to help SMEs not just with lending but also with growth by offering added-value services.” — Luis Rodríguez

The technology is there. AI and ML can provide autonomous, precise and relevant financial advisory to a bank’s business customers so that they can make better, more informed, decisions about their companies. The key is to narrow down the SMEs pain points and identify the availability of data upon which the system can learn and infer the next best action. In other words:

“The first and most important starting point of any AI application is a good segmentation strategy, then define the classification and prediction algorithms to provide a clear understanding of the past, where is the SME coming from and its context.” — Luis Rodríguez


Use cases for AI in the financial sector

Banking industry players are already taking advantage of what AI has to offer. Most common use cases for AI in the financial sector include fraud detection, sentiment analysis, product recommendations, and customer service.

In this sense, Ambassador of Revolut for Spain, Matthew Gladstone, revealed:

“AI is actually helping Revolut optimize the customer service team. 30% of their user queries are solved by “Rita”, an AI-powered chatbot.” — Matthew Gladstone

Leandro Guerra, Data Science Manager at Experian EMEA, enhanced the value of “platforming”.

“Banks have the unique chance to become the go-to platform for SMEs, the provider for small and medium businesses that solve most of their needs.” — Leandro Guerra

That starts with customer experience, so the next question to be answered is: how can banks offer the best experience?

David del Ser, Director at BFA AI Studio, stated that ML solutions set the scenario for smart interactions between banks and SMEs.

“The guy at the corner shop doesn’t want to hear about robots, but would love to hear about his potential clients. It’s not about ‘machines taking over’, but rather leveraging their value when dealing with data.” — David del Ser

The panel was followed by a Q&A session, where the attendees had the opportunity to learn more about the application of AI in SME banking, and how FinTech partnerships can fuel SMEs growth and performance.


Strands Recognized With the “Member Engagement Award”

Global SME Finance Forum has become a must-attend annual conference. This year, Strands was awarded the “Member Engagement Award” by IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and the SME Finance Forum.

Strands Recognized With the “Member Engagement Award” Strands Recognized With the “Member Engagement Award”

A record 600 attendees from more than 275 institutions in 80 countries attended the forum, which facilitated good conversations around SME finance acceleration and provided quality networking to help banks and FinTech firms foster innovation, drive transformation, and promote the growth of the business customers.