UOB deploys AI tools to level up employees’ productivity

The bank with the largest consumer footprint in ASEAN leads the way in adopting Microsoft’s Copilot for more collaborative and productive banking.

Boosting productivity across banking functions is a key priority for the bank. At the same time, as a leading financial institution, operating within guardrails is essential due to the data privacy entrusted to the bank by millions of customers.

UOB, one of Singapore’s largest banks, confronts the risks of Generative AI (GenAI) squarely, with a pioneering trial of the Microsoft365 Copilot tool while ensuring responsible use of AI.

UOB is the first Singapore bank to pilot Microsoft’s latest tech in multiple frontline and back-end business functions. Three hundred employees working in branches, customer service, technology and operations will use Microsoft 365 Copilot to improve productivity, accessibility, and collaboration as part of the trial.

“We are guided by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS)’ Fairness, Ethics, Accountability, and Transparency (FEAT) principles when deploying AI anywhere in the bank. We also actively collaborate with industry peers and regulatory bodies to develop guidelines and standards for responsible and secure use of AI technologies,” Adhunik Chug, managing director of UOB’s Group Infrastructure Platform Services, Group Technology and Operations, told the Singapore Business Review.

The FEAT framework from MAS outlines using artificial intelligence and data analytics (AIDA). Under fairness, AIDA-driven decisions should not disadvantage individuals or groups unless for justified reasons.

Under accuracy and bias, financial institutions should undergo a regular review and validation of data and models used for AIDA-driven decisions, a necessary step to ensure accuracy and minimise unintentional bias.

Under ethics, AIDA should align with the firm’s ethical standards, values, and codes of conduct. AIDA-driven decisions should comply with the same ethical standards as human-driven decisions.

Under accountability, AIDA-driven decisions should be approved by an internal authority.

Finally, under transparency, AIDA usage should be proactively disclosed to data subjects as part of general communication to ensure and promote public confidence.

Customer satisfaction

Adhunik explained that the GenAI tool will be integrated with Microsoft 365 applications such as Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, Excel, and Teams, integrating the capabilities of the large language models with UOB’s data in documents or emails, chats, and meeting notes.

An example where the GenAI tool can be used is customer service. GenAI will enhance message delivery by writing clear and concise responses using natural language and tone as a customer-facing side of the bank.

“It will help them find relevant information and solutions and this will not only reduce the response time that we have to [answer to] our customers, but also improve customer satisfaction,” said Adhunik.

Besides customer service, UOB bankers can leverage Microsoft’s Copilot to craft personalised messages and create engaging presentations when meeting with a customer.

“They can leverage Copilot, extract the points, generate slides with visuals and animations and save time in creating a very professional and captivating presentation that can read the message effectively whilst aligning to the Bank’s templates and messaging,” he said.

Content will also become clearer and more concise as the tool removes jargon and rephrases sentences to improve readability and avoid misunderstanding, Adhunik added.

AI employee alliance

Perhaps one of the biggest worries regarding GenAI is its potential to replace jobs. However, UOB sees AI as yet another technological tool that enhances employee productivity and collaboration but will not replace them entirely.

“Banking is about building a trusted relationship with our customers and it involves higher-level human cognitive capabilities, such as emotional intelligence and empathy that will be hard for AI to replace,” said Adhunik.

Also, customers may still want offline experiences despite the rise in online banking experiences. This is why UOB keeps an omnichannel approach.

Data from UOB’s ASEAN Consumer Sentiment Study 2023, more than half of the Singapore respondents prefer to use digital platforms for simple banking services such as applying for credit and debit cards and checking rewards statuses but prefer an offline or a combination of channels for more complex transactions such as high-value transactions, applying and refinancing their bank loans as well as purchasing insurance.

“Human interaction will continue to be a key part of enabling that journey and building trust with our customers, so GenAI will not replace any employees,” said Adhunik.

Meanwhile, Wai Yi Yik, who heads Singapore Communications at Microsoft, shared that they have identified AI Employee Alliance, which means people see AI as their everyday companion for work and play.

Although some Singaporeans fear losing their roles due to AI, Wai Yi said 70% of people are keen to pass on more manual labour to AI to get better jobs and improve their workflows, according to the Microsoft Work Trend Index 2023.

Follow the link for more news on

Join Singapore Business Review community
Since you're here...

...there are many ways you can work with us to advertise your company and connect to your customers. Our team can help you dight and create an advertising campaign, in print and digital, on this website and in print magazine.

We can also organize a real life or digital event for you and find thought leader speakers as well as industry leaders, who could be your potential partners, to join the event. We also run some awards programmes which give you an opportunity to be recognized for your achievements during the year and you can join this as a participant or a sponsor.

Let us help you drive your business forward with a good partnership!


Startup pushes preventive healthcare through digitalised longevity solutions
Mito Health CEO Kenneth Lou believes their personalised platform can address potential future health concerns and extend lifespan.
Budget 2024: 3 tax strategies to offset BEPS 2.0 effects
Should the directive be implemented, selected MNEs will be subject to a global minimum tax of 15%.