Banking on Computer Vision

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AI-powered surveillance is becoming a staple in U.S. banks.

What’s new: Several banks are using cameras equipped with computer vision to bolster security and boost employee productivity, according to Reuters.

What’s up: The companies have a variety of aims and approaches.

  • JPMorgan Chase is testing systems from vendors including AnyVision and Vintra at several Chase branches in Ohio. The systems collect data on customer and employee behavior to improve staff scheduling and interior layouts, the company said.
  • City National Bank of Florida plans to use face recognition at 31 branches to identify employees, customers, and eventually suspects on government watch lists.
  • An unnamed bank in the southern U.S. uses such systems to alert employees to issues such as suspicious loiterers and open safes.

Behind the news: The latest moves build on earlier attempts by financial institutions to take advantage of image recognition technology.

  • Before settling on a private vendor, JPMorgan Chase put together its own system drawing on technology from Amazon Web Services, Google, and IBM.
  • Bank of America bought AI-powered surveillance cameras in the early 2010s to catch people loitering in ATM kiosks.
  • Wells Fargo in 2007 used CrimeDex, a crime-prevention network that reportedly offered “facial recognition technology and the ability to search videos such as ATM surveillance records” and listed “14,000 suspects,” to identify a thief who taken $400,000 from automated teller machines.

Why it matters: If banks can get regulators and consumers to accept AI-assisted surveillance in branch offices, it will add momentum to wider adoption of the technology.

We’re thinking: Many of these use cases seems more like surveillance than security. Without sufficient sensitivity to public concerns, such efforts is likely to inspire backlash. Organizations that aim to take advantage of this technology: Tread cautiously.

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