Nedbank chief executive Mike Brown is pictured in this file photo.

CAPE TOWN - In an interview Nedbank CEO Mike Brown, he confirmed that the bank will not be retrenching any workers as they move towards a more digital forefront. 

"We chose to showcase Pepper, the humanoid AI robot to show clients that we are trying to build a bank that is more digital, agile and competitive.

"Currently, we have no intention of digital or peppers replacing staff, we are going more digital and devleoping artificial intelligence not to shrink our business or shrink our staff numbers. We are doing it to grow our business and provide our customers with better service", said Brown. 

Brown explains that it is in the best interest of the bank to focus on a more digital forfront. 

"Banks around the world are all trying, especially on the retail side of their business to deliver a significantly improved client experience through the use of digital and to use it to become more efficient at the same time", said Brown. 

When asked about the future of AI, Brown feels that it is very unpredictable. 

"It is an exciting time to be a Nedbank client or Staff member to grow, develop and learn"

" I guess the framework I give as to why nobody can predict it or where it will end up because if you think about the most basic form of AI or robotics in banking was the ATM machine that was invented in the 19970's". 

"The ATM was initially thoughts as something that would over time be able to replace bank tellers, as we sit here today the banking industry has more ATMs than bank tellers.

"No one really knows where the likes of AI would go. Certainly, I think it is an enormous opportunity to ensure better client experience".

When asked how Nedbank plans to compete with a fully focused digital bank such as Bank Zero, Brown explained that Nedbank has digital propositions already. 

" We don't have to build or launch anything new that we don't already have. I personally do all my banking via our mobile and digital platforms currently". 

Brown points out that the bank has for years now been on a technology evolution that they refer to as the "Managed Evolution" that is systematically replacing care pieces of their banking platforms to enable them to be more digital.

"For the last few years, we have been building the foundation for more digital architecture and as we got into the bank end of 2017and strongly into 2018 and beyond and those foundations are evident in client value propositions and products that our staff can deliver to our customers

"For example, during 2017 we launched an updated Nedbank Private Wealth banking app built on those exact foundations and it was rated the 6th best private wealth banking app in the world"

" In November and December, we relaunched our retail banking apps and we received more than 400 000 downloads of those apps since they were launched and what you most likely to see in the next couple of weeks is the rewrite of all the Nedbank Internet banking platforms. 

With regards to getting Nedbank stuff updated with the required skills in order for the bank to become more digital Brown says that Nedbank has a training programme in place which is an Enterprise-wide change management programme. 

"The programme is known as Lead 2020 which is the leadership journey that will enable our managers and executives to lead in a more digital world and People 2020 which will help enable our staff to cope and thrive in the same environment". 


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