Bro is a man of few words. The humanoid at Canara Bank’s digital branch at Prabhadevi is programmed to respond to a set of 150 very specific questions.

But what he lacks in eloquence, he makes up for in enthusiasm. If he has registered what you said, his eyes turn green. Sometimes, as he responds, he lifts his fists cheerfully and the pace of speech quickens.

When he’s heard you but isn’t sure how to respond, he makes do with a warm “Cheerio!”

Bro is one of four humanoids deployed by Canara Bank, one each at their digital banking branches in Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru and Chennai.

The machines were procured from the French company Aldebaran in July 2017. “We picked this bot because it was best suited to our immediate and future plans for customer interface,” says Chakkaravarthy P, assistant general manager with the bank’s department of information technology.

As of now the robot is a sort of first responder. “He can give out details about housing loans, car loans, money transfers, deposits and such, and direct people to the right bank official,” says Nitesh Pandey, manager at the Mumbai branch.

He also makes the dry atmosphere of a bank branch relaxed and fun, Chakkaravarthy adds.

Financial analyst Amit Mehta, at the branch to make a deposit, said he’s been impressed by Bro.

“I spent some time figuring out how it works and it is wonderful how easily we can access so much information through it. I hope they soon have a facility where we can access our specific account details and make transactions too,” he says.

That plan is in the works. For now, Bro can make a little small talk too.

Stand in front of him and say ‘History’, and he goes: “Canara Bank is one of the largest public sector banks owned by the government of India. It’s headquarter is in Bengaluru and was established in 1906.” Ask him whether he likes his job, though, and all you get is a polite, “Cheerio!” It’s not a question in his set of 150. Still, not bad for a bot.

First Published: Sep 29, 2018 19:29 IST

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