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How ‘ Erica ’ helped power a 19 % spike in earnings at Bank of America

Erica is a financial assistant that’s been having a lot of conversations over the past 5 years—more than a billion. But she hasn’t lost her voice !

So far this year, Bank of America’s clients have engaged with Erica more than 333 million times. Some of what the virtual assistant does is help with tasks like sending money, accessing account information, transferring money between accounts, and finding a nearby branch or ATM. These are examples of “ personalized and proactive insights ” that now account for more than 60 % of engagement with customers, according to the Bank.

With this, clients are using Erica 2.1 million times per month to understand spending habits. CEO Brian Moynihan sang Erica’s praises during the company’s recent Q2 2023 earnings call – noting that interactions with Erica rose 35 % in the past year, and now there have been 1.5 billion client interactions over 5 years.

Bank of America customers are increasingly using digital tools for banking. For the recent quarter, digital households accounted for 83 % of the bank’s relationships – up from 77 % from the same time 2 years ago. Further, CashPro App sign-ins are up nearly 60 % from last year. “ With consumers, we now have 46 million active users that are digitally engaged with our digital platform and are logging [in] over 1 billion times a month ” Moynihan said on the call. “ And even with this scale, the stage of maturity logins is up double digits from last year.”

For Q2, Bank of America’s net income rose 19 % to $7.41 billion, compared to $6.25 billion at the same time last year. Revenue increased 11 % to $25.2 billion.

‘ The efficiency toolbox ’

Major banks are betting on innovation like A.I. to help build future growth, according to John Cunnison, chief investment officer at the bank and wealth management institution Baker Boyer. “The big banks have been automating for years ” Cunnison said. “A.I. is just one more tool in the efficiency toolbox.”

Does he think every bank must be on board with growing digital to remain competitive and relevant ?   “ Yes and no ” Cunnison explains. “ For smaller banks, with more affluent clientele, the magic will be in digitally enhanced human interaction. A.I. and other digital tools in the hands of a thoughtful financial advisor or banker will provide a very compelling customer experience.”

However, it’s unlikely that digital offerings will be a major differentiator in how customers choose banks, Cunnison says. “All the major banks will be going in this direction. And for mid-sized and small banks, there are a tremendous number of software solutions to choose from. Ultimately, these digital tools are likely to enhance the customer experience and, in the right hands, allow financial professionals to do more with less. It’s not about replacing people. The winners are going to leverage technology to allow the best people to do more.”

The recent white paper “ State of Digital Sales and Engagement in Banking ” provides more insights whereby over the next three to five years, financial institutions will employ A.I. to help with increasingly complex tasks, like financial planning and investment advice.

Moynihan said on the call that investments made in technology have helped the Bank of America “ grow industry-leading positions in digital tools that enable our clients to do great things and make us more efficient.”

July 25, 2023  by  Sheryl Estrada / CAIL       905-940-9000