The Intelligent Bank of the Future

Here’s a thought experiment: what if you had to design from scratch a new bank targeting low-income clients? This would be a bank that could focus on clients with smartphones to grow quickly and efficiently. It could also have a forward-looking CTO with a future-proof mindset. In sum, it’d be a bank that seized the full potential of the rising wave of fintech innovations. You can read about some of the fintech innovators we work with at Catalyst Fund that serve emerging markets.

That bank would be AI-first, completely permeated by Artificial Intelligence so employees could be more productive and easier to coordinate. That in turn, would allow for job creation and also for market expansion, keeping costs per customer contained by the increased productivity.

It would also be mobile first, so the bank would offer customized and flexible products to its users. With even more applications of machine learning, the products would anticipate the customers needs and offer a delightful user experience. The product owners would also design its services to bridge the trust gap.

But how would you sketch the systems architecture for such a bank?

First, you would anchor it on a modern Core Banking system, well secured in the cloud and equipped with APIs to easily plug in tools and exchange data. An example of this is Mambu.

Second, you’d likely want to throw in a modern analytics warehouse like Amazon’s RedShift to keep ALL YOUR DATA replicated in one place.

Third, for each of the main functions of a bank, you’d turn your employees into human-machine centaurs to give them productivity super powers through digital assistants (“the finbots”). Beyond deeply understanding their job, these employees would need to be sufficiently tech and data savvy to fully leverage the machines. To top it off, they’d need to be avid learners and self-starters to continuously improve their processes.

Luckily, there are already a few B2B providers of inclusive fintech tools that are making those super powers a reality for several banking functions:

  • Credit Evaluation and Decision: First Access
  • Customer Onboarding, Engagement and Support: Juntos chatbots
  • Liquidity Management: Lendable
  • Regulatory Compliance: Vizor
  • Know-Your-Customer: Lenddo

(The list was not meant to be comprehensive, please suggest other options in the comments!!!)

You could then layer on a few mainstream techniques for greater effect:

  • Digital Channels for Customer Acquisition: Facebook campaigns and referral programs
  • Business Intelligence: New visualization tools like Looker and Mode
  • Personal Finance Coach for Customers: Penny

And voila, you would have a fully digitized bank where the human brains are extended by digital assistants. Humans and computers together would form a new type of bank, more intelligent, aware and efficient. Therein lies the true promise of fintech: expanded access, usage and jobs!

At BFA Global we will be working on a number of projects to explore this frontier. Stay tuned for updates and lessons from the digital trenches by signing up for the Catalyst Fund mailing list and joining the Inclusive Fintech Group on LinkedIn.

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