Scotiabank’s innovative data strategy garners award from The Banker

Wednesday, September 01, 2021

Company: Scotiabank

Investing in data and analytics has been crucial for financial institutions for years, but during the pandemic it has come to the forefront as a key tool to help customers during difficult times.

In the spring of 2020, as Canadians were urged to stay at home to curb the transmission of what would become known as COVID-19, it became clear to many Scotiabank leaders that some customers would be vulnerable to the financial impacts of these measures.

In just a few weeks, the Bank developed a model that would identify at-risk customers through a vulnerability score, leveraging various data points including employment industry, liquidity and credit history. By June 2020, Scotiabank’s data and analytics teams were working hand in hand with the digital and business teams to build a specific proactive outreach program to provide customers with avenues for support, such as financial relief programs. The use of data and analytics not only improved the customer experience as more people shifted their banking online, it allowed the Bank to help customers get ahead of potential financial hurdles.

“We knew intuitively that we had to act quickly, to get out and talk to our customers as soon as possible to provide solutions for people who are going to be challenged during this time,” said Phil Thomas, Executive Vice President, Customer Insights, Data & Analytics.

The response was overwhelmingly positive, with clients expressing relief and gratitude for the assistance, and the Bank’s net promoter score – a key measure of customer satisfaction – rose as well, he added.     

This cutting-edge use of data and analytics at a critical time has helped Scotiabank to be recognized as Most Innovative in Data by The Banker magazine, a Financial Times publication. The award, as part of the Innovation in Digital Banking Awards 2021, recognizes excellence in financial technology and innovation within financial institutions.

“Congratulations to Scotiabank for winning the hotly contested data category in The Banker’s Innovation in Digital Banking Awards 2021,” says Joy Macknight, editor of The Banker.

“Scotiabank’s rapid response during the COVID-19 pandemic to protect its most vulnerable customers resonated with the judges. Not only did the bank’s data and analytics teams develop a vulnerability model to identify customers at risk financially, but they worked with the digital and business teams to build a specific proactive outreach program. This is innovation at its best, delivering much needed support during difficult times.”

It’s an amazing thing for the team to be recognized. We are on the map in this space, not just in Canada or North America, but now globally.”

— Phil Thomas, Executive Vice President, Customer Insights, Data & Analytics, Scotiabank


“Throughout the past year, the insight we’ve gained through data and analytics has allowed us to identify thousands of our most vulnerable customers, and provide them with tailored support and advice to help them navigate through this challenging time,” said Brian Porter, President and Chief Executive Officer of Scotiabank. “We’re pleased that for the second year in a rowThe Banker has recognized Scotiabank for our innovation in financial services. Sincere thanks to our winning team of employees who have made these achievements possible, and congratulations on earning this global recognition.”

Thomas said many have contributed to Scotiabank’s data and analytics strategy, and there is a “sense of pride” among the team and its leaders with this recognition.

“There's been a lot of excellent work behind the scenes. It’s an amazing thing for the team to be recognized. We are on the map in this space, not just in Canada or North America, but now globally.”

In the fall of 2020, Scotiabank also announced its Global AI Platform, which provides the infrastructure needed to deliver personalized service to customers. In February 2021, Scotiabank launched C.MEE, an AI-driven tool that helps the Bank to use various models and analyze data across customer touchpoints to determine what advice is most relevant.  

Scotiabank is using AI in a myriad of ways, from back- office functions to reducing wait times at call centres to helping those on the trading floor, while being mindful and careful regarding ethics and data privacy, said Thomas.

“I look at the use of artificial intelligence in financial services the same way we did when we launched ATMs, or telephone banking or digital banking. It really is going to help shape the future of financial services, both from a customer perspective and how our employees do their jobs,” he added. “We're just scratching the surface. The next 10 years will be amazing.”

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