Danish challenger bank Lunar trials voice-enabled AI-powered chatbot- voiced by CEO

Nordic challenger bank Lunar and UK BNPL firm Zilch reveal how their organisations are leveraging AI and generative AI.
Danish challenger bank Lunar trials voice-enabled AI-powered chatbot- voiced by CEO

Could an AI-powered voice-enabled chatbot answering a user's financial wellbeing questions voiced by a challenger bank’s CEO be the future of banking?

The idea is currently being road-tested by Danish neobank Lunar, which along with UK advertiser-subsidised BNPL firm Zilch recently spoke about AI and generative AI and how they were deploying it within their organisations.

Kåre Kjelstrøm, the CTO of Lunar, the Danish neobank with over 850,000 customers across the Nordics, says:

“Like other companies, Lunar is looking to AI to be more and more productive with current staffing.”

The challenger bank, last valued at $2.2bn, has built out LunarGPT, a private version of ChatGPT, for its 450 staff to use.

“You can ask it anything and we have trained it on some of the internal material about Lunar,” says Kjelstrøm.

For example, Lunar staff can ask LunarGPT about specific Lunar products or ask it how to give a better presentation?

On the marketing side, the CTO said Lunar is leveraging generative AI to generate images for external presentations while within engineering it is using AI to help to code more efficiently.

Lunar’s tech staff have also created LunarMind, its customer service AI-powered chatbot, to help its customer service agents answer questions.

Currently being deployed internally, LunarMind could be exposed to Lunar customers in conjunction with its human customer service agents in future, says its CTO.

One of the most exciting AI use cases for Lunar, says Kjelstrøm, is an AI chatbot tool to help its customers with financial wellbeing and planning, which it will unveil in May.

Powered by LunarMind, and similar to Bunq's chatbot Finn, the tool allows users to ask questions about their financial wellbeing (such as 'how much did I spend on a previous holiday?'), help with financial planning, and simplify the process of resetting pin codes and passwords.

Built into the mobile app, the CTO says Lunar has tested a voice-enabled version of the chatbot, with users asking verbal questions and getting verbal answers.

He says:

“We have toyed around with that and we have already built such as demo version where it answers back.”

In the demo version, the chatbot’s voice was that of Lunar CEO and founder Ken Villum Klausen.

So what do all these AI changes mean for headcount at Lunar? 

Kjelstrøm says the use of AI and generative AI tools means headcount will not grow as rapidly as previously planned before the AI explosion.

Meanwhile, the CEO of UK BNPL firm Zilch, which says it has over 3.5m customers and is valued at £1.65bn, recently hit out at much of the current use of AI by firms.

Speaking at an Innovate Finance conference, Philip Belamant, Zilch CEO & co-founder, said:

“A lot of the implementation that you see from firms today we really don’t consider to be very technical. A lot of companies are using AI to solve problems today of toil.” 

As an example, he cited the use of AI to make communications, such as chat and email, more efficient.

 Belamant added:

"We are not sure that this is a huge and massive innovation. In fact, it was my understanding that that was table stakes. It's not very complex.”

Instead, he said a more interesting use case is whether AI can be deployed to help anticipate customer purchase decisions before they happen.

He said: “What is this customer intending to do before they do it. How quick can we get at guessing what you are about to do?"

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