Bots are ‘all over place’ at PNC

High-tech automations run throughout PNC bank, with bots handling tasks that range from creating branch appointments to scanning documents for Payroll Protection Program (PPP) data.

PNC Bank Enterprise Chief Information Officer Ganesh Krishnan

Enterprise Chief Information Officer Ganesh Krishnan shared details about the $433 billion bank’s automation initiatives during Wednesday’s BA Ignite fireside chat with JJ Hornblass, chief executive officer of Royal Media.

How does the bank leverage its more than 100 bots? Without providing the exact number of bots PNC utilizes, Krishnan said automation at the bank is “a rapidly evolving space,” joking that bots are practically “wired” throughout the company.

“It’s all over the place — and that’s a good answer,” Krishnan said.

Krishnan highlighted one PNC bot that handles branch appointments for customers and “which has really taken off beautifully.” In addition, the Pittsburgh, Pa.-based bank is leveraging a tool powered by artificial intelligence that pulls data from the millions of documents submitted to the bank for PPP, so the data can be used in the application process. The bank is exploring ways to leverage this technology in other areas to streamline its workforce.

“If you put manual people on it, you’re going to require hundreds of people to do that stuff,” Krishnan said.

PNC has a team of more than 6,000 employees worldwide devoted to its technology, including more than 1,000 developers. For each new automation project, developers incorporate business functions, such as risk, compliance and audit, Krishnan noted. While discussing how much overhead is added for developers when incorporating the business functions of risk and compliance, Krishnan agreed that this “easily” adds 25% to 30% in a large banking organization.

“But, guess what? If you don’t do that, and one of your bots explodes in production, you can be in serious trouble, and spend a couple of years” trying to fix it, Krishnan said. “Then automatically, you don’t think of it as an overhead, it becomes part of your process.”

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