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SEB adopts customer data ethics policy

SEB has adopted an ethics policy for customer data which sets the framework for responsible handling of customer data, data-driven innovation and the use of AI. The policy consists of eight principles for responsible business development and innovation that will protect customers and safeguard confidence in the bank.

Data and data-based technologies such as AI and machine learning are central components in the finance sector’s transformation. Data-driven innovation opens major opportunities to improve the customer experience, automate business processes, streamline decision-making, and so on. But this also creates ethical risks such as a lack of transparency, incorrect assumptions, data quality, security and privacy.

“We therefore need to develop ethical principles that are long term and go beyond regulatory compliance. These principles are there to safeguard human rights, protect customers and ensure that in the continuous development of our services and our offering we handle customer data in an ethical and responsible manner,” says Chief Transformation Officer Sara Öhrvall, who has headed the work on the policy.

Fundamental purpose

The policy stipulates that the fundamental purpose of collecting and processing customer data must be to favour the stakeholders. Customers must be able to rely on SEB handling customer data in a careful and respectful manner while accepting responsibility for its handling of customer data.

Other key principles in the policy are transparency and explainability. As far as possible, SEB must strive to be able to report its use of data sources, models and AI as well as explaining how AI-based decisions are made.

The policy also states that data-driven models based on customer data can strengthen conscious and unconscious prejudices. SEB must therefore monitor this aspect and be proactive in counteracting it.

The policy also requires SEB to not sell customer data to a third party for commercial use. However, SEB may share data with a third party in order to develop services that create clear value for customers, when customers have requested this or when it is required by law.

In all processing of customer data, AI and machine learning SEB must also take into account how the bank’s systems and models affect society and the environment over time.

Read the policy here