NatWest and technology major IBM have joined forces to enhance the UK-based retail and commercial bank’s virtual assistant Cora to deliver a better client experience.

The partnership will enable the virtual assistant to leverage generative artificial intelligence (AI) to offer customers access to a broad array of information via conversational interactions.

The bank also intends to facilitate a safe, intuitive, and accessible experience in its digital services.

The collaboration is aimed at co-creating a digital concierge (Cora+) which transforms the chatbot’s capability into a more interactive and conversational experience by utilising IBM’s enterprise grade AI and data platform, watsonx.

IBM global financial services industry general manager and distinguished engineer John Duigenan said: “With the appropriate guardrails and governance in place ensuring that AI is open, trusted and targeted, banks can deliver an empowering value proposition enabling an even deeper level of customer loyalty.”

Cora+ will have access to information, including products, services, bank, and career opportunities, from multiple secure sources that were previously unavailable through chat alone.

Customers will be able to ask questions and get responses in a more natural and conversational style. They will be provided with links to requested information that can either be immediately viewed or saved for later.

Besides, customers will continue to have the option to speak on the phone with branch representatives during business hours.

NatWest Group’s retail bank chief digital information officer Wendy Redshaw said: “We are a relationship bank in a digital world, building trusted, long-term relationships with our customers through meaningful and personalised engagement.

“Building on Cora’s success over the last five years, we’re working with companies like IBM to leverage the latest generative AI innovations that will help make Cora feel even more ‘human’ and, most importantly, a trusted, safe and reliable digital partner for our customers.”

In September this year, NatWest Group expanded its partnership with Amazon Web Services (AWS) to expedite the adoption of AI.