The Intersection of Financial Institutions and Technology Leaders

Ally Financial Explores Responsible AI

By Kiah Lau Haslett


Ally Financial has long been one of the innovators in the banking industry. 

The online-only consumer lender, which has $192.9 billion in assets and is headquartered in Detroit, has a long history of using technology to deliver financial services. This includes extensive use of data analytics, building out an expansive software network, leveraging cloud technology and automating auto lending. Along the way, the bank has built out processes and procedures to manage and oversee the unique risks that stem from using technology tools. 

But artificial intelligence, particularly advances in generative AI, is changing how banks approach oversight and governance of AI models, says Sathish Muthukrishnan, Ally’s chief information, data and digital officer, in this episode of Reinventing Banking. Generative AI models use all sorts of content, information and data as inputs, creating unpredictable and potentially surprising outputs. 

The technology is evolving fast; you have no control over the output that the model produces,” he says. “But yet, you have to make sure that bias does not creep in and you did not discriminate.”

Still, the promise of generative AI looms large: The bank has identified hundreds of use cases for generative AI, most of them outside of the technology business lines. To capitalize on the  “tremendous amount of innovation” happening in generative AI globally, Ally is launching a challenge and calling for collaboration with startups building technology that promotes or reinforces responsible AI principles. 

“When you bring in technology, you have to make sure that you’re not only using it safely [and] securely, but responsibly,” Muthukrishnan says. 

Ally’s AI challenge will run for several months, allowing the bank and its partners to develop and test AI-powered solutions or address different risks and concerns from using the technology, including generative AI. The hope for the startups is that the bank may ultimately choose to leverage its solution after the challenge ends, or that it can reach other interested companies and address their issues, using Ally’s feedback. Muthukrishnan delves deeper into areas the bank wants to explore in this episode.

Kiah Lau Haslett is the Banking & Fintech Editor for Bank Director. Kiah is responsible for editing web content and works with other members of the editorial team to produce articles featured online and published in the magazine. Her areas of focus include bank accounting policy, operations, strategy, and trends in mergers and acquisitions.