Singapore-based OCBC Bank has launched its own artificial intelligence (AI) unit to enhance its digital capabilities.

Named AI Lab@TOV, the new unit will sit within the bank’s fintech and innovation group, The Open Vault at OCBC (TOV).

The new unit will receive an investment of $10m over three years. The bank intends to leverage the unit to drive the adoption of AI across banking services such as wealth advisory and loans financing.

Headed by the Singaporean Ken Wong, the team of three data scientists will focus on developing targeted and tailored products and services driven by machine learning.

Besides serving as ‘test bed’ for all the AI technologies prior to their implementation , the new facility will serve as a hub to train and further enhance the data science skills of technologists within the bank.

The facility will use OCBC Bank’s data sandbox and application programme interfaces (APIs) to experiment with real-life anonymous customer data in a secure environment. It will generate proofs-of-concept that can be quickly tested.

Wong said: “With the set-up of our very own AI lab, we are able to experiment for the first time with deep learning neural networks and graphics processing units, which are heavily used in the gaming industry and hardly used in banking.

“This is an exciting new space to be in, especially for banking, and we welcome talent who have the passion to develop something new and fresh for the industry.”

AI Lab@TOV is experimenting with natural language and speech processing technologies which if successful will allow customers to fill in banking forms digitally simply by talking over phone with their relationship manager.

OCBC will also work with Amazon web services DeepLens, the world’s first deep learning video camera, to use facial recognition technology with the aim of ultimately installing it at OCBC branches or ATMs.