When people found out that the eBanking accounts would end, they launched a change.org petition that had garnered more than 46,000 signatures, as of the morning of Jan. 23.

Amazon has Alexa and now Bank of America has Erica.

The banking giant last week rolled out the first widely available artificial intelligence-driven virtual assistant in financial services, Erica, to its 25 million mobile clients.

This latest innovation builds on the bank’s other digital products, including the Digital Mortgage Experience, mobile car shopping tool, Merrill Edge Guided Investing and Business Advantage.

“Everything we do is based on what we hear from our clients: how they want to interact with us and how we can make their financial lives better,” Michelle Moore, head of digital banking at BofA, said in a statement. “Erica delivers on this in many ways, from making it easy for clients to find what they are looking for to providing new and interactive ways to do their banking using voice, text or gesture. Through Erica, we are also delivering personalized solutions at scale by providing insights, such as how you can improve your credit score or create a budget.”

BofA recently surpassed 25 million mobile banking clients and began rolling out Erica broadly across the country.

Erica combines the latest technology in artificial intelligence, predictive analytics and natural language to be a virtual financial assistant to clients. Currently, clients can ask Erica to:

  • Search for past transactions, such as checks written or shopping activity, across any one of their accounts.
  • Increase awareness about their credit scores and connect them to information that will help them learn about money management through Better Money Habits.
  • Navigate the app and access key information, such as routing numbers or the closest ATM or financial center.
  • Schedule face-to-face meetings with more than 25,000 specialists in our financial centers.
  • View bills and schedule payments.
  • Lock and unlock debit cards.
  • Transfer money between accounts or send money to friends and family with Zelle.

Erica is designed to learn from clients’ behaviors over time, helping them accomplish simple to complex tasks within the mobile banking app with easy-to-follow prompts. Clients can interact with Erica any way they choose, including texting, talking or tapping options on their screen.

“Erica’s knowledge of banking and financial services increases with every client interaction,” Aditya Bhasin, head of consumer and wealth management technology at BofA, said in a statement. “In time, Erica will have the insights to not only help pay a friend or list your transactions at a specific merchant, but also help you make better financial decisions by analyzing your habits and providing guidance.”

In the coming months, Erica will be able to tackle more complex tasks, such as:

  • Sending proactive notifications to clients about upcoming bills and payments.
  • Displaying key client spending and budgeting information and advice on ways to save.
  • Identifying ways for clients to save more.
  • Managing credit and debit cards to help notify clients of card changes.
  • Showing upcoming subscription charges and monitoring transaction history and changes.

BofA began piloting the technology with its employees in late 2017 and started rolling it out to clients in March of this year. Since its development, the bank:

  • Integrated more than 200,000 different ways for clients to ask financial questions.
  • Added new functionality based upon client patterns and behaviors.
  • Expanded Erica’s conversational knowledge, including the ability to engage clients with salutations and well wishes, such as “happy birthday.”
  • Implemented a real-time feedback capture to inform future enhancements.

BofA Unveils First Widely Available AI Virtual Financial Assistant

by Banker & Tradesman time to read: 2 min