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Banks dedicate more resources to responsible AI but clarity lags behind
Mon, 18th Dec 2023

Banks are dedicating more resources to responsible artificial intelligence (RAI), with staffing levels for relevant roles increasing 43% between May and September 2023, says independent AI intelligence platform Evident. However, the company notes that only six banks have specified and clarified their RAI approach.

The Evident AI Index, which reviews the 50 largest banks around the globe against varied AI Transparency criteria, drew these insights. It found a sharp rise in the number of employees dedicated to roles specialising in RAI practices.

Despite this, currently, only six banks - CommBank, Danske Bank, HSBC, NAB, the Royal Bank of Canada, and Scotiabank - have publicised and elucidated what their RAI principles are, the index shows.

As of October 2023, according to Evident's findings, 23 banks have designated a senior leader for RAI, 20 have formed specific partnerships for RAI, while 17 have promoted RAI via multiple channels, and 16 have published original research findings specific to RAI. Meanwhile, while more than 30 banks now employ at least one person dedicated to RAI, over two-thirds of these roles belong to just ten banks. There's still no evidence of dedicated RAI positions at 17 banks in the Evident AI Index.

Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Evident, Alexandra Mousavizadeh, says, "With artificial intelligence regulation firmly on the policy-making agenda for 2024, the onus is on all organisations to proactively and transparently demonstrate their RAI credentials."

Mousavizadeh adds that she finds it encouraging to see progress in the banking industry, but she emphasises that RAI initiatives are still driven by a relatively small section of banks, who are largely in North America, while many major institutions lag when it comes to demonstrating RAI.

The Evident AI Index recognises JPMorgan Chase, Royal Bank of Canada, Scotiabank, CommBank, Capital One, HSBC, NAB, BNY Mellon, NatWest, and Wells Fargo as the leading banks for AI Transparency. JPMorgan Chase has dedicated RAI teams, publishes RAI-centric research, and has partnerships with academic entities, which solidifies their commitment to responsible AI. Meanwhile, HSBC, which has demonstrated remarkable progress in RAI since the beginning of the year and made considerable contributions to AI innovation, leads the European banks.

Mousavizadeh adds, "While many institutions are taking proactive steps to address AI concerns and ensure they behave responsibly, there is no industry standard for responsible AI reporting, hence it is critical that the banks show leadership and report publicly on their artificial intelligence, progress."