As the financial services industry evolves, traditional branch-based banks and newer direct banks powered by fintech firms will be pressured to keep their digital tools fresh and relevant to consumers. In addition to providing simple, quick and secure access to finances, banks are exploring how to add value to digital interactions and carve out their niche as integral fiscal partners.
Some banks are seeking to join the “connected home” trend, leveraging the use of home assistants like Amazon’s Echo and other Alexa devices or Google Home to execute transactions like transferring cash to a child’s lunch account or paying a bill with voice commands.
Bank of America introduced its foray into artificial intelligence last year with Erica, a bot that accesses information sources across the bank to answer questions via voice or text. It is also intended to help customers make better financial decisions and adopt healthy money habits by providing alerts, such as changes to a FICO score, and money-saving tips. The bot is available through Bank of America’s mobile app, used by 22.6 million. Essentially, the bank is working toward creating an ecosystem in which banking is streamlined.
At Regions Bank, active listening to customers across all channels is informing digital developments. The regional bank moved its website to a content management system and augmented it with a tool that guides customers to the content they need, resulting in search improvement of 20 percent. The bank is also incorporating free person-to-person payment features – think Zelle and Venmo – to make it easier for individuals to share payments.
As banks and fintech firms race to meet the ever-changing and ever-challenging expectations of their consumers, it will be essential to keep listening and paying attention to which tools and resources are resonating with them. Companies outside the industry – such as Instagram, Uber, Lyft and Google – keep improving and finding ways to connect, and financial services organizations may be able to apply lessons learned from leading innovators to keep adding value in their own sphere.