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NatWest Turns to IBM to Upgrade Virtual Assistant Cora


NatWest’s virtual banking assistant Cora is getting an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered upgrade from IBM.

The British bank is working with IBM to offer customers a broader range of information, becoming one of the first lenders in the United Kingdom to employ generative AI with a virtual assistant, according to a Monday (Nov. 6) press release.

The upgraded version of Cora, dubbed Cora+, has been “designed to provide a more accessible and human interaction for customers looking to compare products and services across the product suite, or who are looking for information across the NatWest Group websites,” the bank said in the release.

Cora+ will be able to access information from several secure sources that were once inaccessible through chat alone, like products, services, information about the bank and career opportunities, per the release.

“Customers can ask questions and receive responses in a more natural, conversational style and are provided with links to requested information, which they can either view immediately or bookmark for later,” the release said.

Customers still have the option to talk to branch representatives over the phone during business hours, according to the release.

The bank’s IBM partnership is happening as several banks are using AI to revamp their products and entice consumers.

“As industry chatbots morph into personalized tools and fraud protection turns prescient, every facet of banking is poised for a rebuild,” PYMNTS wrote earlier this year as part of the “Embedded Finance Tracker” series. “This transformation is not merely a splash of futurism — it is reshaping everything from internal operations to consumer banking experiences.”

The tracker pointed out that the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has envisioned a vibrant future in which chatbots not only carry out transactions but also assist customers in making informed financial decisions.

The report also contended that generative AI now surpasses chatbots that answer frequently asked questions from a prewritten script. J.P. Morgan Chase is employing real-time “dissatisfaction data” for intuitive, humanlike customer interactions, while Israel’s One Zero Bank and AI21 Labs have created chat platforms that mirror human engagement.

“Paired with data-rich back ends, these innovations are turning once clunky chatbots into engaging and effective strategic assets,” PYMNTS wrote.

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