Post the 2008 Global Financial Crisis, risk management in banking has flourished with intensive regulations, processes, innovations. Increasing complication of risk analysis, simulation and management is providing inroads to technological disruptions in this area. In this context, one powerful yet unexplored tool in many banks is likely the area of extended reality (virtual reality, mixed reality, augmented reality).
Extended reality aided with artificial intelligence and data science has the potential to act as a contactless record collection and retention reference, monitoring, modelling, complex inferential tool and may help modernize risk management and financial crime analysis and overall reporting.
Financial Institutions (FIs), like other industries, are going through technological, business, geopolitical and environmental disruptions, leading them to find out ways to run their business keeping in mind interpretation efficiency, ease of interpretation, social distancing, access to remote area and design for overall cost efficiency.
Using Extended Reality is expected to provide capability uplifts related to business benefits in the risk, fraud and compliance divisions of FIs, such as:
- Transform complex data to understandable intuition – Complex data, either multi-dimensional or voluminous, both in breadth (categories, dimensions) and depth (volume) may be easily visualized and traversed to get an intuition of the data by drilling down from a macro to a micro level view
- Discover complex patterns – Multi-dimensional, immersive visualization may aid to discover patterns not easily visible in tabular information or non-immersive visualization
- Seamless access of remote inputs – Remote locations may be scanned, and information gathered and visualized to make business inference quickly due to seamless and near real-time access
- Connect people with business in a completely intuitive way – Immersive experience helps to connect people with the changing risk and compliance imperatives and form quick and lasting understanding of the changes
In the below section, we discuss various potential use cases that the financial industry can consider for application of extended reality capabilities.
Dynamic Stress Testing will lead to complex multi-dimensional data landscape, which will be hard to explain to the regulator, and hard to visualize for decision makers within the organization. To improve explainability of results, it is imperative to use a better tool to visualize the complex mesh of dynamic stress testing area. Virtual Reality can be an excellent tool in this area, both for supervisors and decision makers, and for the analyst and tester, who may find it difficult and time consuming to explain the results. Use of VR may augment the application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for complex multi-dimensional risk models with better explainability.
In Market Risk, information is usually gathered and visualized real time from an analysis of stocks, currency, derivatives and macro-economic movements from several sources. Using extended reality can help analyze and explain market volatility predictions from a cause/impact/time to impact analysis in a visual, more intuitive way.
From a compliance standpoint, FIs need to submit lot of information to regulators, and the list of information keeps broadening over time. Increasing regulatory commitments make FIs sift through complex and voluminous regulatory documents and complex, wide array of data, thus incurring huge costs. Proper visualization of data, easy cross-referencing and validation with documents, and analysis of data provided shall arm the supervisors with better control and enable FIs to gain insights from this huge data pool, and correlate between the requirements of different regulators. The regulatory compliance landscape is bound to get more complex as more and more regulations come up to cover speedy disruptions in banking. Immersive data visualization can enable a supervisor and analyst in the compliance area to sift through and interlink the complex regulatory data-document landscape and enhance control.
Credit Risk Assessment of a borrower involves multiple documents to be traversed, including several inter-linked documents. Maintaining these documents for a portfolio and gaining proper insights form the literature is itself a daunting task for an FI. Intelligent use of NLP, NLG and audio/video summarization paired with virtual reality to intelligently visualize and sift through a portfolio’s document stack can enable analysts with better insights and better control. They can be equipped to only see relevant contextual information and be better equipped to control a larger portfolio.
Possibility of risk modelling is getting complicated, with a wide range of information captured and correlated to risk of a bank/institute/individual or macro-economic risk. These data may come from diverse places like bureaus, research bodies, news agencies, other agencies, social media, IoT, government, police, postal department, utility firms, climate bodies, geological research, industry bodies, etc. As banks & insurance agencies try to increase outreach and be more accurate in their speculations, this plethora of information will complicate the risk modelling environment and, in turn, be less explainable and visualizable. Lack of explainability will be a deterrent in developing and interpreting complicated models. Virtual Reality aided simplified visualization, in conjunction with explainability (XAI), can be an aid for FIs to calibrate more accurate, complex models which source diverse information.
Discover complex patterns
Anti-Money Laundering (AML) analysis involves analyzing millions of transactions around certain data dimensions involving customer information, account information and transaction details. As each of these dimensions have several attributes to analyze, it becomes a (No. of Transactions multiplied by No. of attributes in transaction, account, customer dimension) problem. Visualizing the transactions together while flipping dimensions may provide macro level money movement information and would aid in anomaly detection and new pattern discovery in this field. This can be facilitated by Topological Data Analysis (TDA), where the topology is colored and viewed to discover patterns.
Seamless access of remote inputs
Lenders have reported gaps in collateral valuation by independent valuers, mostly due to influence of borrowers, and, in some markets, due to non-regulated valuers. Augmented Reality may be an excellent second eye to the valuer. The lender may require valuers to create VR videos of site visits, which can then be seen centrally by the FI. Video analytics can pull up relevant data of objects seen in the VR video and provide better valuation analysis and any possible notes on risks associated, depreciation rate deviations, etc. This can enable lenders to cross-check with valuers when required and reduce the valuation gaps. Image analysis may also aid FIs to send drones armed with cameras in disaster zones and check up their collaterals. Similar use cases are also present in the insurance industry particularly in the context of their Property & Casualty (P&C) lines of businesses.
As the regulatory compliance and banking risk landscape evolves and gets complicated, along with emerging risk conundrums, training personnel will continue as a challenge. Virtual Reality, with its immersive visualization, can be an excellent aid to contextualize and memorize this complex landscape.
Virtual Reality can also aid to include and provide understanding of banking procedures and encourage financial literacy and help improve financial inclusion. There are huge and vulnerable populations, yet untapped by the financial sector, and they have low risk profiles and thus would be of interest to the FIs. By giving them a knowledge of the process, the FI can enable them to deal with the financial system efficiently and independently and help them to tap the financial ecosystem for themselves. This awareness will help curb the middlemen/brokers, who may be motivated by commissions to miss-sell, thus reducing conduct risk and associated credit risk, fines, litigation costs, further.
Extended Reality provides the possibility of creating an immersive experience, which can help in detailing remote inspections or complex visualizations involving multiple dimensions. Extended Reality can also a great aid for online training. Immersive visualization helps to quicken human decision making, understanding and inference as it sends a clear depiction of the information at hand, with the provision of including multiple dimensions efficiently. This helps the brain to get an intuitive understanding of the visual environment.
At present, the coronavirus pandemic has added a whole set of new challenges on top of the disruptions stemming from business model changes, shifting customer preferences, and technological capabilities. With this high rate of change, we feel Extended Reality can be leveraged as the next big aid to run the risk and compliance functions more effectively. In our opinion, the FIs that will move sooner to incorporate such capabilities to augment their business processes, employee tools and experience for their customers will establish the new normal level playing fields.
Partha is a Domain consultant with BFSI Chief Risk Office Strategic Initiatives at Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). His primary expertise is in Commercial Credit Risk and AML Data Management. Partha is a Bachelor of Metallurgical Engineering and has domain consultancy, technical architecture, and solution architecture experiences. With more than 15 years of experience in BFS industry, Partha focuses on providing innovative solutions to re-imagine risk transformation and risk quantification.
Kallol Bhaumik is a Domain consultant with the CRO Strategic Initiatives team of Banking Financial Services and Insurance (BFSI) unit at Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). Kallol’s expertise primarily lies in Credit risk, Counterparty Credit Risk and CCAR area. In his academic, he has done extensive study on the history of risk measurement methods and how they evolved to reach to modern day risk measurement methods. With over 12 years of experience in BFS industry and in the risk management area, he focuses on research and analysis of upcoming regulations of various regulatory bodies and works risk transformation themes and solutions.
Prad is a Consulting Partner at TCS and part of BFSI Chief Risk Office Strategic Initiatives at Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). He specializes in Consumer Banking domain and focuses on Customer Experience & Conduct Risk Mitigation portfolios. He has about 22 years of experience & combines subject matter expertise, analytical thinking and design thinking principles in engagements with customers and analysts. Prad is based in India and is a Master of Science in Quantitative Economics from the Indian Statistical Institute.