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UBank taps FaceMe and IBM to launch Mia, a digital home loan assistant

UBank taps FaceMe and IBM to launch Mia, a digital home loan assistant

Laying claim to the world's first AI-based digital home loan assistant



Australians are set to be among the first to be exposed to what NAB subsidiary, UBank, is calling the world’s first AI-based digital home loan application assistant called Mia (My Interactive Agent).

The assistant was created in partnership with Kiwi AI-start-up, FaceMe, which recently secured US$10 million Series A capital funding after attracting a series of investors from Australia and New Zealand.

FaceMe uses IBM Cloud and Watson, to help create the ‘digital humans’ who can see, hear, talk with and remember customers.

The platform is multi-modal and takes input from computer vision, speech and text.

Using supervised AI training, the ‘digital human’ is able to combine natural language, understanding with situational awareness, to create an appropriate response. This is then delivered as synthesised speech and expression by the FaceMe-created UBank digital avatar ‘Mia’.

The whole project to create Mia, took about four months. Using a desktop or mobile device, customers can ask questions about the home loan application, and she can answer more than 300 of the most common questions. She can also use fun gifs and animations during her chats.

“By bringing Mia to life, we’re giving customers a whole new way to interact with their online home loan application and completely challenge the perception of a digital bank,” UBank CEO, Lee Hatton, said.

Mia will be put into action in late February through a pilot with a select group of customers. She will complement UBank’s home loan chatbot, RoboChat, and the Live Chat experience with UBank’s advisors, to help customers apply for a home loan.

“Our vision is to enable companies like UBank to create more meaningful and valuable experiences for their customers," FaceMe CEO, Danny Tomsett, said. "Mia offers an emotionally connected experience for servicing customers making an exciting and important life decision."

Read more: NAB joins global cloud alliance

Mia is the third AI-enabled project from UBank, following the introduction of RoboChat, and the roll out of RoboBrain last year, a one-stop portal of valuable information.

“We want to continue attracting customers but maintaining the same number of team members to support this ever-growing customer base,” Hatton said. “That means we need to leverage key technologies like AI to tackle the typical questions customers ask, so we can free up our team to address the unique situations our customers need more support with.”

In September, FaceMe secured Vodafone New Zealand as a customer as it launched its intelligent digital human.

The telco giant worked with FaceMe to design, build and deliver the digital human, and to learn how this could meet the needs of customers.

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