Bank of America’s clients set to meet virtual assistant Erica in March

Maria Nikolova

Available in the mobile banking app, Erica is able to assist with everyday tasks, such as accessing balance information and transferring money between accounts.

Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) has underlined its commitment to new financial technologies by announcing that a number of solutions currently available to its employees will gradually be rolled out to the bank’s clients.

The list of such solutions includes the bank’s virtual financial assistant Erica. Bank of America’s clients are set to begin to meet Erica in March. The assistant, available in the mobile banking application, is able to help with everyday tasks, such as accessing balance information, transferring money between accounts, sending money with Zelle®, and navigating the application.

Virtual assistants have been increasingly used by banks as they seek to tackle an increasing workload and growing volumes of data. Moreover, such programs are capable of servicing clients 24/7, thus solving a range of problems referring to availability of human staff.

Over the past several days, a number of banks have announced the deployment of such assistants.

NatWest, for instance, has started testing a digital human driven by artificial intelligence (AI), named Cora. In the future, the program could be used as an additional way for customers to obtain answers to basic banking queries such as “How do I login to online banking?”, “How do I apply for a mortgage?” and “What do I do if I lose my card?”.

NatWest has, since the start of 2017, rolled out a text-based chat bot called ‘Cora’ that can answer 200 basic banking queries and now has 100,000 conversations a month with customers of the bank. But the bank has taken another step and, drawing upon advances in neuroscience, psychology, computing power and artificial intelligence, a new Cora prototype has been built to include a highly life-like digital human that customers can have a two-way verbal conversation with on a computer screen, tablet or mobile phone.

In Russia, Sberbank said earlier this week that a robot named Anna is starting work at the contact center of the corporate clients department. The robot will answer to a number of queries such as ones about the location of ATMs or bank offices with certain functions. In the future, the robot will also provide information about the status of payments and account balances.

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