Mentions of artificial intelligence within the filings of companies in the retail banking industry rose 18% between the second and third quarters of 2021.

In total, the frequency of sentences related to artificial intelligence between October 2020 and September 2021 was 386% higher than in 2016 when GlobalData, from whom our data for this article is taken, first began to track the key issues referred to in company filings.

When retail banking companies publish annual and quarterly reports, ESG reports and other filings, GlobalData analyses the text and identifies individual sentences that relate to disruptive forces facing companies in the coming years. Artificial intelligence is one of these topics - companies that excel and invest in these areas are thought to be better prepared for the future business landscape and better equipped to survive unforeseen challenges.

To assess whether artificial intelligence is featuring more in the summaries and strategies of retail banking companies, two measures were calculated. Firstly, we looked at the percentage of companies which have mentioned artificial intelligence at least once in filings during the past twelve months - this was 64% compared to 34% in 2016. Secondly, we calculated the percentage of total analysed sentences that referred to artificial intelligence.

Of the 10 biggest employers in the retail banking industry, Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China Ltd was the company which referred to artificial intelligence the most between October 2020 and September 2021. GlobalData identified 79 artificial intelligence-related sentences in the China-based company's filings - 1.9% of all sentences. Sberbank Rossii mentioned artificial intelligence the second most - the issue was referred to in 1.4% of sentences in the company's filings.

Across all retail banking companies the filing published in the third quarter of 2021 which exhibited the greatest focus on artificial intelligence came from Intesa Sanpaolo SpA. Of the document's 3,137 sentences, 365 (11.6%) referred to artificial intelligence.

This analysis provides an approximate indication of which companies are focusing on artificial intelligence and how important the issue is considered within the retail banking industry, but it also has limitations and should be interpreted carefully. For example, a company mentioning artificial intelligence more regularly is not necessarily proof that they are utilising new techniques or prioritising the issue, nor does it indicate whether the company's ventures into artificial intelligence have been successes or failures.

GlobalData also categorises artificial intelligence mentions by a series of subthemes. Of these subthemes, the most commonly referred to topic in the third quarter of 2021 was 'conversational platforms', which made up 47% of all artificial intelligence subtheme mentions by retail banking companies.