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Enterprise bot platform Kore unveiled its Kore Smart Bot today for the customers of credit unions and retail banks. In a competitive fintech landscape, banks need bots to attract and retain young customers, the company said. The announcement was made Thursday at FinovateFall 2016 in New York.

Smart Bot can, among other things, help customers pay bills, find an ATM, transfer funds, and put users in touch with a human being at their bank if need be. Customers can talk to Smart Bot via SMS, email, or chat platforms like Facebook Messenger.

This is Kore’s first bot for bank customers.

Kore has dozens of enterprise bots that connect to SAP, Salesforce, and other software for work. In July, Kore announced the creation of its virtual assistant Kora and a bot platform.


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Several banks now offer bots for customers to access their account. Capital One allows its customers to pay bills with Alexa, Bank of America is currently working on a Facebook Messenger bot, and several Chinese banks offer banking through WeChat.

“Pioneers who invested early in the shift toward adding a personalized, consumer-centric approach to banking are reaping the benefits — new Millennial customers, more cross-sales, higher loyalty, and better, lower cost service,” said Kore CEO and founder Raj Koneru in a statement.

In a post a day prior to the launch of Smart Bot, Kore made its case for why retail banks need bots to attract young customers.

“Some contend that enterprises put too much stock in millennial preferences, but if the short history of digital innovation has taught us anything, it’s that Gen Z is used to a hyper competitive marketplace — which means banks need to be ready to join the fight,” said Kore senior creative writer Dante Lima.

Bots don’t just provide services. They can also be brand ambassadors and build relationship with customers, Lima argues. Pointing to a Pegasytems study that claims nine in 10 banks will provide services through multiple channels by 2020, Lima argues that banks that wait to offer bots to customers will pay a price.

“Gen Z, or the millennial cohort, probably won’t want to wait another four years. To a twenty-something who has grown up in the digital age, that’s simply an eternity, and without long-time roots in retail banking, a customer like that is liable to choose the next best bank. Bots provide an outlet for all banks and credit unions to secure that customer, and bring Gen X-ers and Gen Y-ers easily into the fold as well,” Lima said.

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