CBA’s Data Science Team Speeds Responses for Customers Impacted by Natural Disasters

CommBank says customers impacted by natural disasters can now expect same-day tailored support solutions from their bank thanks to a new purpose-built data model solution.

The bank is using custom-built algorithms to monitor, in real-time, a mix of data points from official emergency sources and weather alert systems to offer same-day one-to-one support when customers impacted by natural disasters.

The new data model analyses and interprets a range of data sources to help the bank accurately contact affected customers the same day to offer assistance, wherever they are located.

The system swung into action during the recent Perth bushfires allowing Commbank to offer same-day personalised support to 80,000 customers who were impacted by the Perth bushfires.

Andrew McMullan, chief analytics officer, Commbank

According to CBA’s Chief Analytics Officer, Andrew McMullan, “Natural disasters can come out of the blue, and whilst sadly we can’t prevent them, we can help notify customers so they can prepare, as well as offer affected customers immediate and personalised support.”

He said the bank is now better placed to connect with customers who may be impacted and also offer support that aligns to their needs, such as deferring a loan or offering an emergency overdraft.”


This latest service offering is part of the bank’s accelerated digital strategy which it says is designed to provide customers with one of the best digital experiences of any company globally.  To that end it is investing in technology including data, machine learning and artificial intelligence to better understand each customer’s individual needs.

“When a natural disaster hits we know that time is a luxury, so our new automated monitoring system allows us to respond to customers with far better speed, accuracy and personalisation than manual reporting allows.”

The new solution enables the bank to check-in with customers as to whether they need help, while informing them about the individual support available.

“Being able to anticipate our customers’ needs and contact them on the same day that a postcode is identified as being at risk from a substantial weather event is a game-changer, and something customers in Perth told us they appreciated during the recent bushfires.”

McMullan said the data science is helping the bank to reimagine products and services.

“CBA’s Customer Engagement Engine runs around 400 machine learning models across 157 billion data points in real-time so we can add value to our customers in terms of relevance and personal experience – whether that’s through messages and live in-app chats using the CommBank app, or having relevant conversations in-branch or over the phone.

“Offering customers timely, relevant and personalised experiences is something we’re continuing to put a lot of focus on across the bank.”

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