Against the backdrop of the pandemic and the Great Resignation creating the most significant labor shortage in history, on February 2, 2022, WorkFusion launched its AI digital workforce. Leveraging the company’s decade of experience in automating complex operational functions, our first six Digital Workers arrived as fully trained and immediately productive, purpose-built for specific job roles in the banking and financial services (BFS) industry.
We couldn’t have imagined that three weeks later, on February 24, Russia would invade Ukraine, leading to an ongoing war. While this had a tremendous impact on our core business, with many of our employees and operations based in Eastern Europe, it also escalated the need in BFS for two of our sanctions-screening AI Digital Workers: Evelyn, a sanctions and adverse media screening analyst, and Tara, a transactions screening analyst.
As the year evolved, so did the macroeconomic conditions impacting the labor market. As a recession looms and businesses scale back their workforce, organizations are looking at how they can do more with less … while retaining the staff that remains without creating burnout. This creates a talent dilemma that Digital Workers solve:
- How do we stay nimble to sustain macroeconomic events?
- How do we hire trained employees when there is a limited talent pool and/or limited resources?
- How do we retain and ensure meaningful work for existing employees?
Helping Banks and Financial Institutions Fight FinCrime and Reduce Risk
Bad actors are bad business. It goes well beyond simply stopping the bad actors from opening accounts. There are second-order effects on the bank in the process: bank employees get burned out, customers’ accounts get frozen, and operating expenses soar. Not to mention the potential financial penalties for non-compliance.
The primary challenges when it comes to financial crime mitigation and anti–money laundering (AML)/sanctions/Know Your Customer (KYC) compliance includes navigating highly manual tasks such as alert reviews, compliance operations staffing, cost, and human error.
Financial institutions devote thousands of employees and billions of dollars to AML and KYC compliance. In fact, it is not uncommon that alert review teams (sanctions and AML combined) make up more than 50% of a bank’s compliance staff.
Using time and money to review thousands of false positives is an efficiency problem that can lead to missing the bad actor “needle in the haystack,” that rare true positive, due to resource strain from reviewing thousands of false positives.
Our purpose is to help banks and financial institutions fight financial crime and reduce risk by augmenting existing operations teams in key compliance functions like AML, sanctions, customer onboarding, and KYC with our AI Digital Workers.
The Work.AI Platform
If you worked in enterprise technology in the late aughts/early 2010s, you couldn’t escape the phrase “the consumerization of IT.” Essentially, it meant the progression of IT being used at home by consumers and then making its way into the enterprise or government. With the recent launch of OpenAI’s ChatGPT, I believe that AI has now reached a similar tipping point which will create the “consumerization of AI.”
Where ChatGPT optimizes language models to write anything, we have created a similar model and approach to create a work AI platform.
Unlike traditional RPA bots, which follow rules to automate work that has no variations, WorkFusion has combined AI, machine learning (ML), intelligent document processing (IDP), robotic process automation (RPA), and pre-designed application connectors to create our Digital Workers. As a result, our pre-built solutions arrive on the job fully trained and immediately productive (they can be up and running in as fast as a week), working seamlessly side-by-side with your traditional team members. Or we can build customer Digital Workers to do any job.
Regarding the BFS sector, the industry is already at the tipping point of AI adoption. Many government agencies, regulatory partners, and financial crime watchdogs are all pushing the financial sector towards innovative industry approaches to solve fincrime and AML compliance problems. They want technology and AI/ML to liberate and improve human intervention and judgment. And, regulators are increasingly warming up to leveraging technology to reduce compliance risks, capacity savings, and costs.
Digital Workers: One Year Review
It has been a wild year. But throughout it all, our six AI Digital Workers worked 24/7 — without PTO, getting tired, or burned out — and didn’t have any bad days.
Evelyn, Tara, Darryl, Kendrick, Casey, and Ilana have accomplished so much in a short period of time. They are helping customers overcome the talent dilemma of recruiting, retaining, reskilling, and replacing staff amidst a variety of macroeconomic conditions. All the while they are helping our customers save money, increase team capacity, reduce employee burnout, eliminate human errors, and support compliance.
Thank you to our customers and employees who have been with us on this transformative journey over the past year as we rolled out the Digital Workers. We are only getting started.