BBVA signs ChatGPT deal with OpenAI

BBVA has announced it will roll out OpenAI’s ChatGPT as part of a new deal.

The Spanish bank says the move makes it the first European bank to forge a partnership with the generative AI (GenAI) company.

The deal forms part of plans to identify how GenAI can expedite processes; improve productivity; and boost innovation through its ability to create text and images and process information, among other features.

“We see this first foray into the use of ChatGPT Enterprise as an opportunity to validate the extent to which these tools can genuinely boost our productivity, thus transforming the way we all work within the bank,” explains Elena Alfaro, the new head of AI adoption at BBVA, whose role is to mainstream this technology across the Group. “We are aiming to enhance the capabilities of our employees, not to replace them."

BBVA is already handing out licenses at its central services in Spain, with this process being expanded to the bank's other main countries.

It said its aim is for all areas and departments to have access to ChatGPT, so that licensed employees can collaborate with their colleagues in undertaking various projects.

“New artificial intelligence tools are going to have a disruptive impact on society as a whole and on the financial industry in particular," said Ricardo Martín Manjón, global head of data at BBVA. "At BBVA, we want to further promote our role as pioneers when it comes to innovating in financial services and we are therefore firmly committed to exploring the potential of this technology."

Prior to the deal, BBVA has been running specific development centres for advanced analytics and AI, which it calls AI factories, in Spain, Mexico and Turkey for more than a decade.

In addition to these teams, there are also analysts and data specialists working across all the business areas, giving a total of more than 5,000 employees, of whom 1,000 or so are data scientists. The team aims to "unlock the value of data and AI" with a view to improving business decision-making and helping create various kinds of products, such as solutions to improve the financial health of customers or aid them in their climate transition.

BBVA first tested an AI language model by OpenAI back in 2021 to see whether the technology could generate useful summaries of conversations between customers and bank agents to save time for customer-facing teams.

The tests, which produced “encouraging” results, were run on ten unedited Spanish conversations about banking extracted from publicly available online forums.

In March, BBVA signed a new five-year tech deal with Cisco to further advance its digital transformation strategy.

The partnership, which builds on an existing relationship between the two companies, will give the Spanish bank access to Cisco’s full software portfolio, including technology and customer experience services.

The bank is the first EMEA-based financial services institution to sign a whole portfolio agreement with Cisco in both Europe and Latin America.

The agreement includes technology across cybersecurity, collaboration, data centres, and networking.

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