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Are You Ready for Driverless Banking?

The notion of a driverless car is the stuff of great sci-fi flicks. But according to Scientific American, "Cars that require little to no human input appear ever closer to reality as automakers like Audi AG, BMW AG, Ford Motor Co. and Toyota Motor Corp. continue developing their own versions of the technology and Google Inc. sends driverless cars around the streets of California."

Have no fear, the future is here. Could driverless banking – fully-automated banking, be possible much like fully-automated cars are becoming so? Imagine a virtual banker doing everything for you, automatically – including investing, paying bills to making cash withdrawals, all based on what you’ve stipulated of course.

It’s certainly worth a look-see.

"Driverless banking is not only a real advantage to maintaining good cash flow, but with the most recent advancements in identity theft protection, it’s a safer way to bank as well," says Rebecca Schreiber, co-founder of Pure Financial Education.

"Most of us already practice driverless banking with direct deposit, automated bill paying and e-statements. To keep it from getting away from you, simply check your bank account activity once or twice a week to make sure there aren’t any unauthorized transactions."

There would be a plus to bank employees, as well as customers. Because virtual workforces assume the repetitive and often mundane tasks associated with account management, human employees are freed up for customer-facing roles.

For instance, a customer of software company Blue Prism, The Co-Operative Bank, deployed a virtual workforce to tackle its excess queue procedure. Previously, a team of 11 people worked from 7:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. to manually process 2,500 high-risk accounts each day. Now with the Robotic Process Automation-enabled automation of this process, nine of these team members have been moved to roles where they perform proactive account management – making outbound customer calls to discuss account issues before they arise, not after.

"With automated or ’driverless’ banking, customers benefit from more engaged employees who are focused on providing superb customer service, not administrative work," points out Pat Geary, chief marketing officer for Blue Prism.

Automated banking should reduce errors just as automation in factories reduces errors in manufacturing, says Roy Karon, president of BVS Performance Solutions, which works with companies in the financial services industry. Automated banking will provide time displacement for customers, who because of automation will be able to bank 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Automated banking will cut the non-interest expense for banks because they can cut body count.

No doubt, there are some benefits to be had, but a bank and its customers are more complicated than a car and its driver, says Karon. "A car has but one task – take its occupants from Point A to Point B. Banking has multiple tasks – safe-keeping, deposits, loans, wealth management, commercial banking – and they each have unique requirements."

Take for example, loans. "One of the five ’Cs’ of credit is character and no fintech has yet demonstrated an algorithm that can measure character like a banker who lives in the same town with the borrower, goes to the same church as the borrower, sees the borrower at the school where their children get an education or plays golf at the same club," says Karon. Automated loans are being made, but there will always be situations where character has to be measured face-to-face, he adds.

While automation of daily and weekly nuisance banking tasks will make bank operations more efficient, there will always be situations where a true relationship with a human banker will be integral to getting things done, says Karon.

He believes the next level of "virtual" bankers will be well-trained humans serving customers via video. With currently technology, this virtual banker will be able to advise, share documents, link in product experts, and complete sales all through a video connection. "What I’m talking about is an integrated video network where there are dedicated video bankers who are supported by in-branch bankers when they are not busy with their own customers. This network serves customers wherever they are and can also help support branches who experience very busy periods. The key here is the skills and training of the virtual video bankers," says Karon.

Driverless bank, like driverless cars is going to be fact not fiction. Says Geary, "Automation enhances overall customer service and satisfaction."

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Anonymous   |     |   Comment #1
Here is a good book regarding artificial intelligence (AI). The wave of the future.

Machines of Loving Grace: The Quest for Common Ground Between Humans and Robots Hardcover – August 25, 2015 by John Markoff
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #2
I would like the bank to come to me with an ATM attached to it and to park in my driveway.
That is my dream and a real teller to seat in self driving BANK-MOBILE, just in case I need other services.
Anonymous   |     |   Comment #3
People who write these articles must never get out of the house...or cave. First, driverless cars are fraught with enormous liability and safety issues. Second, a "virtual banker" guarantees equality of risk...all players are equal and no one has an advantage.

People are basically ignorant. Mankind has advanced solely BECAUSE individuals assumed greater personal responsibility and, therefore, control of their lives. Why the notion of surrendering personal liberty, responsibility and choice-making is popular in our present-day culture is beyond me. Machines, all machines, are controlled by humans. Write software for a living and you won't be so eager to surrender your finances to a block of amorphous code.

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