Bank of America wants a human bridge for its AI help

Dive summary:

  • Following enhanced digital adoption during the COVID-19 pandemic, Bank of America is working to expand the capabilities of Erica, its AI-powered digital assistant, to include personalized banking, investing, credit and retirement planning advice..
  • “The idea is to proactively reach out to you and tell you how your finances are doing, like an advisor in your pocket,” Hari Gopalkrishnan, CIO of retail, preferred, small business and wealth technology at Bank of America, said last week. A virtual fintech conference hosted by Tearsheet.
  • The bank is working to expand Erika’s ability to offer proactive insights based on its understanding of typical customer transaction patterns. It can alert the customer to spending anomalies and suggest solutions, such as if spending in a particular category is unusually high, Gopalkrishnan said..
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Diving insight:

Launched in 2018, Erica has enabled 1 billion customer interactions and helped 32 million users. Bank of America expects Erica to connect customers with bank agents early next year for new products and services such as mortgages, credit cards and deposit accounts.

According to Gopalkrishnan, because of the pandemic, older customers are using digital banking tools, including Erica. The bank now wants to continue with advanced adoption by improving the flow of transactions, including seamless handovers from Erica to human agents and vice versa.

“We realized that at some point people are going to say, ‘I’m done with this chat, I need to talk to a human,'” Gopalkrishnan said. take over.”

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The bank is using natural language processing tools to help extract insights from transactions and conversations, he said.

The use of predictive concepts also extends to customer calls to the call center. Based on what the bank knows about the customer, Erica can sometimes predict why the customer is calling and recommend actions to address any issues that arise, the bank said.

“We could, [for example]defines with [interactive voice response] You are calling about a rejected card, said Gopalkrishnan. “Then we can say…” Can I re-send you the deep link to Erica’s piece?

Pairing Erica with a human assistant will help streamline the account opening process for wealth management products, he said.

Bank of America isn’t alone among major financial institutions launching or updating digital banking assistants. Wells Fargo announced In October, it will soon launch Fargo, a digital assistant built on Google Cloud’s conversational AI platform Dialogflow. Michelle Moore, Wells Fargo’s digital platform leader, previously led digital banking at Bank of America and led the development of Erika.

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In September, Truist launched Truist Assist, a digital assistant that offers insights and tips for natural language processing and natural language understanding.

Bank of America has invested more than $3 billion over the past decade in technology aimed at improving user experience and personalizing customers online or on their mobile devices, Aditya Bhasin, the bank’s chief technology and information officer, said in October.


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