Our Customer Insights, Data & Analytics (CID&A) team at Scotiabank is a community of inclusive and collaborative innovators. We use advanced analytics to better the lives of over 25 million customers that depend on us; each deposit, each purchase, each investment helps us anticipate our customers' needs today and in the future. 

With advancements in Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning there is growing accountability for organizations to manage and use data responsibly and ethically. At Scotiabank, we understand the responsibility that comes with using advanced analytics and have built a comprehensive network of tools and processes that allow us to manage and use data responsibly. In 2022, the Bank was recognized with the bronze medal at the Qorus-Accenture Banking Innovation Awards for our commitment to taking an ethical approach to data. More than 680 entries from 240+ banks across 57 countries submitted applications to the awards, which recognize the best new ideas and practices that are transforming the industry for the benefit of banks and customers alike. 

Today we bring you two unique voices from innovative leaders within the Data Ethics team: Mona Balesh Abadi and Anna Hannem, who speak about Scotiabank’s continued commitment to Data Ethics and the key reasons behind this award recognition. 

Scotiabank went beyond just the ethics of Artificial Intelligence …

“Scotiabank is an early adopter of data ethics and we have incorporated our leading ethical practices into our business, including developing one of the first public Data Ethics commitment statements and incorporating the ethical use of data into our Bank’s code of conduct. We also created innovative tools to glean customer insights that are more personalized and accurate and reduce the likelihood of unintended harm, such as bias.” - Anna 

Valuing data ethics as an important driver for building and maintaining the trust that customers put on our bank every day…

“Ninety-nine percent of the people I talk to don’t understand what my work in Data Ethics consists of, but I think the Scotiabank’s Ethics Assistant is a great way to explain it to them. It draws attention to the ethical considerations that must be acknowledged when using customer data to make business decisions. This is because data analytics is a powerful tool where small omissions can have outsized consequences, such as a biased dataset leading to biased decisions. That is why we have introduced Ethics Assistant to help practitioners consider the ethical implications of their data projects in a proactive, systematic way.” - Mona

Scotiabank is one of the first organizations in the financial industry to tackle the ethical concerns that can arise throughout the entire data lifecycle…

“Most other organizations are purely focused on AI when it comes to Data Ethics, but what is unique about our approach is that we understand that AI is just one small portion of all the ethical risks with data. You start facing ethical risks from the moment of collection. We are integrating the ethics lens across the entire data lifecycle.” - Mona

A true sense of purpose and impact when working in the Data Ethics space at Scotiabank…

“Algorithms are increasingly used for a lot of decision making, I've been very happy to come into this role and see that the Bank actually cares. We have so much support from our leadership. It is not just rubber stamping or policing, we are encouraged to be creative, challenge the thinking around processes and identify potential issues that can come up with these very new tools and technologies.” - Mona

We thank Mona and Anna for sharing their experience working within the Data Ethics space at Scotiabank. The tools they have helped develop, combined with resources and education campaigns created by the Bank’s designated Data Ethics team, position Scotiabank’s AI & Data Ethics program as one of the most comprehensive programs in the financial industry. If you’re interested in learning more about working within the Customer Insights, Data & Analytics team with leaders like Mona and Anna, click here.

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