Credit Mutuel puts customer convenience and comfort at the core of its digital innovations:
Crédit Mutuel is a French cooperative bank, which today has over 34.6 million customers. Uniquely, it is a member of the International Raiffeisen Union (IRU), the association of cooperatives that work on the basis of the ideas of Friedrich Wilhelm Raiffeisen, a German mayor and cooperative pioneer of rural credit unions in Germany. One of its landmark achievements is the buy-out of Citibank’s retail bank activities in Germany for 5.2 billion euros in 2018 when the US bank had some 3 million customers in the country.
Credit Mutuel claims that it puts innovation that benefits people and regions at the center of its development strategy. At the core of this strategy is the strong belief that technology expertise should be beneficially used to serve the customers. At the bank, innovation is everywhere – in the range of products and services that it offers, in the ways in which customers and advisors interact, and in the way work is organized. Using the best technology, the bank today offers all its customers appropriate responses to their evolving needs and demands.
PARTNERSHIP WITH IBM
Credit Mutuel had forged a pioneering partnership with IBM some 5 years ago to help it in its journey of digital reinvention. The brief given to IBM was to help it create new ways of working to better serve the millions of the bank’s customers. The first product of this partnership was the Cognitive Factory, an innovation hub dedicated to infusing AI across all lines of business in the bank. The partnership enabled the bank to leverage Cloud and Watson to take it to the forefront of AI technology. The Cognitive Factory is located at the Euro Information, the IT Group of the bank that has created some of the unique products and services for the bank. There is a team of 150+ people dedicated to the development of innovative AI solutions – from combating financial crimes, to augmenting customer experience with virtual assistants.
COGNITIVE FACTORY FOCUS
The Cognitive Factory’s major focus has been to (i) build novel cognitive solutions, (ii) to expand capabilities, skills, tooling and talent, (iii) to establish a cognitive platform on which to build AI products and (iv) to manage forces of change management with effective communication.
One unique product that Cognitive Factory has developed is a system for the advisors of the bank to analyze emails. The challenge that the advisors then faced was to answer 7 million client emails per month quickly and efficiently. By analyzing customer emails with AI, the advisors could discern the intent of the customers, their needs, and what exactly they were asking for. Knowing these insights helped the advisors to automatically route correspondence to the correct people. It provided shortcuts, improved efficiencies and quality of responses. By a rough calculation, the email analyzer saved Crédit Mutuel over 2 minutes per email, multiplied by 7 million emails per month
The main objectives of the partnership between the bank and IBM had been to accelerate and industrialize the use of data, enable use of AI and automated document analysis to develop new services, improve business processes and protect customers and the bank. IBM created a technology and skills center in Strasbourg, dedicated to Crédit Mutuel, around AI, data, cloud and infrastructure modernization. The strategic partnership also saw the creation of a skills and technology center in Strasbourg, hosted in a structure dedicated to Crédit Mutuel. This hub is intended to accelerate the supply of services and technologies such as AI or the private cloud, in synergy with the IBM Z platform, for customers and members, partners and employees of all Crédit Mutuel organizations.
ROLE OF EURO INFORMATION
Meanwhile, Euro Information manages the information system of 16 Crédit Mutuel federations as well as all the subsidiaries carrying out financial, insurance, real estate, consumer loans, private banking, financing, telephony and technology. With nearly 4000 employees, it offers the best of technology to employees, members and customers associated with a high level of security and protection of personal data.
The bank’s LyfPay is a very unique offering. It is a secure, multi-service, multi-merchant mobile payment solution that boosts customer relations and offers new purchasing experiences. The app covers a broad set of needs, including in-store payments, ranging from small shops to large retail chains, online shopping, person-to-person payments and even charitable donations. By integrating payment cards, loyalty cards and coupons, it ensures close ties with consumers who use it and gives them access to the latest news from their favorite stores, special offers and information about their spending. The app can be installed on any type of smartphone.
Credit Mutuel professes to be a bank owned by its customers. Unlike in most other banking organizations, a customer is free to share his views and feelings about how the bank does business at member and shareholders’ meetings. Close contact is key. For example, when a dedicated advisor of a customer is on leave or vacation, the customer is notified and another person deputed to step in to take care of the customer.
This article has been compiled based on publicly available information on the web, particularly the bank’s own website.