Business / Industries

Smart era begins for China's banking sector

By Jiang Xueqing (China Daily) Updated: 2016-03-17 07:48

Smart era begins for China's banking sector

Visitors seek information about financial products at a finance expo in Beijing in 2015. [Photo/China Daily]

Banking institutions have entered a new era of smart financing by making innovations through integration with Internet technologies, said a report released this week by the China Banking Association.

The study listed a number of ways banks have been deploying smart technologies in their daily operations.

Bank of Communications Co Ltd launched smart robots that could help assistant managers at the branch level receive clients, provide consultation and direct them to relevant windows according to their demands.

The robots have the ability to speak, listen, think, judge and memorize through the adoption of multiple technologies such as voice recognition, natural language understanding and facial recognition. Clients can interact with the robots by talking to or touching them.

China CITIC Bank Corp Ltd launched smart desks using a combination of technologies including facial recognition, remote verification of identity and electronic signature. It takes only three minutes for clients to complete services like debit card opening and signing of electronic banking contracts via a smart desk.

Clients can also receive a comprehensive risk appraisal of investment in precious metals, wealth management funds and foreign exchange business as well as make investment via self-service.

China Construction Bank Corp also launched smart teller machines with various functions of multiple self-serving devices. The STMs are six times more efficient than bank clerks over the counter. It used to take an individual client 20 minutes to complete a foreign exchange settlement and sales business. By using a smart teller machine, however, it takes only two minutes.

As of the end of 2015, China had 224,000 bank branches, including 7,270 providing smart banking services. Self-serving banks exceeded 170,000 nationwide, with nearly 830,000 self-serving devices, the report said.

Last year, transactions outside bank counters rose 32 percent year-on-year to 1,762 trillion yuan ($270 trillion). Mobile banking transactions increased by 123 percent to 71 trillion yuan and online banking transactions grew 28 percent to 1,601 trillion yuan.

At present, the average penetration rate of banking business outside the counter is 77.76 percent, up 9.88 percentage points from a year earlier, the report said.

Yang Zaiping, executive vice-president of the association, said: "Banks made great efforts in innovating models to provide financial services via multiple channels and strived to optimize the process of services through integration with Internet technologies."

The report said banks still need to accelerate their progress of service improvement and keep making innovation of financial products and services to satisfy diversified financial demands.

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