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.
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."