Robots in banks: With or instead of humans

16.05.2018 | 10:38 Home / News / Fintech /
#Robots #QIWI Bank #Sberbank
Robots are emerging in various business spheres and the banking sector is not an exception in that sense. TASS has talked with several banks about how the machines work alongside people or in their place and we have selected the parts describing the robots’ functions at banks.

QIWI Bank’s project Conscience (“Sovest”)

Robot Vera is a chatbot with a “human face”, designed specifically to assist HR managers.

“We installed Vera last June. We were expanding in the regions at that time and needed to recruit several hundred sales agents in just a couple of months. We have 600 consultants now, but we have to grow the staff almost thrice. You need to ring around several thousands of people to hire 600 agents, the recruiters would be doing it for weeks. Vera calls the candidates and invites them to a group job interview. It can talk on the phone to 500 applicants simultaneously,” said Conscience project’s HR director Yulia Sorokina.

Vera (installation and maintenance cost included) allows reducing recruitment expenses by five or six times.

“In technical sense, this is how it goes: we upload CVs to Vera, the robot scans the base and finds similar ones. Then the robot checks the CVs and starts calling the candidates. Most of them take Vera seriously, it’s rare that people try to joke with Vera. We started giving the robot new tasks recently. If the applicant doesn’t show up on the interview, Vera calls and asks, “Why didn’t you come?” If they want to appoint the interview at a different time, Vera connects them with the recruiter. Soon Vera will call the applicants to find out if they liked the interview,” noted Sorokina.


Sberbank’s robotics & tech lab develops products in five directions: unmanned vehicles (aerial and ground) for guaranteed delivery of valuable cargo, logistics robots for indoor work, personal assistant robots, commercial exoskeletons, and collaborative robots (cobots).

Head of the laboratory Albert Yefimov noted that two methods are used: engineers elaborate certain solutions on their own, but there are also cases when partners are involved, including startups.  

“For example, one of Skolkovo startups developed an industrial exoskeleton, a “smart chair”, designed for employees, who work in static postures in a limited space without chairs. People need to take a break and sit from time to time. The startup created mechatronic skeleton called ExoChair, an external consume, which operates the following way: when one bends legs, the robot detects the movement and folds into a chair. This “smart chair” increases the productivity, so robots do not leave people out of work, but rather increase their possibilities,” Head of the laboratory told.

Robots-manipulators, incorporated at cash collection centers, are among the laboratory’s solutions.

“Those are production boxes, based on robot-manipulators. They were incorporated on counting and sorting machines at our cash collection centers. Human operators have always been involved in the process, as they wait certain period of time for robots to do their job. We brought in 10 manipulators a year ago; they work parallel to sorting machines and increase the productivity. Monotone works are done 3 times faster now,” Albert Yefimov remarked.

Robots on the machines operate 24 hours a day, but the evolutionary development of robots does not end with manipulators. The bank’s cash collection centers are preparing to incorporate cobots, a more advanced technology.

“Cobots look like manipulators, but they are different internally. If one touches a cobot, it stops immediately, which increases security at work and makes the whole process more efficient. Operators can teach cobots by simply showing the required actions. The process is accomplished without participation of a programmer. From business point of view, cobots are more affordable in service sector, than manipulators. We plan to install several boxes, based on cobos by the end of the year,” Albert Yefimov concluded.

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