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Where is the Intelligent Bank?

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I wrote a blog a few days ago about money not being about jars and pots.

The gist of the blog is that it annoys me when banks offer different sections for different objectives: savings, education, wedding, holiday and so on. The blog got some pushback, saying that people on limited budgets find this allocation of their spending and lifestyle invaluable. I’m going to pushback again and say: why should you bother?

Why should people have to consciously bother to allocate and save to different jars and pots?

Of course, we have to save for our dreams, but why should we have to consciously dream? Why not delegate it to the system?

In the ideal world, I should not have to move funds from the education pot to the holiday pot and from the holiday pot to the grocery pot and from the grocery pot to the I need to live today pot. The system should do it for me.

This is where artificial intelligence (AI) will strike a win. We talk a lot about AI for risk management and marketing, but what about AI for the customer experience? AI that can intelligently move my money around to meet my needs today, tomorrow and aspirational?

Imagine a future where everything is voice-driven, your bank is a Siri or Alex, and it can change profiles in real-time. Imagine you set up your bank account with a personal profile of your financial lifestyle and needs: you program your account with your objectives today, tomorrow and aspirational. Imagine you’ve done that, and then the account looks after itself.

It talks to you when needed to tell you some things. It tells you: you don’t have enough being saved for your holiday this year and, instead of asking what to do, it recommends what to do. Move $100 now from monthly spending to holiday? Yes or no?

This is no big deal and yet, when I look at my bank account that cannot even alert me when money lands, it seems a world away. This is the great opportunity that challengers are tapping into. It’s not reinventing banking, it’s just doing banking better with more intelligence.

It bothers me that the only AI I see in banking today is chatbots and for dealing with fraud and risk. The intelligent account will be a major change in the 2020s. The intelligent account, that knows my life and lifestyle, my financial needs and objectives, my view of the world and priorities, will be a massive winner.

Imagine a world where a bank predictively, proactively, personally and proximity based delivers services that are totally around me. Imagine a world where my bank acts first to protect my interests, look after my money and make sure it is used to best effect. Imagine a world where technology, machines, robotics, intelligence is built into my account, so that it functions at the highest degree of efficiency for even the lowest of profitable account holders.

This is not new. This should not be a dream. I blogged about it EIGHT years ago.

So why, almost a decade later, are mainstream banks still just offering me a transactional statement of historical payments in an app? Oh yea. Legacy systems. Come on guys. The Intelligent Bank is here and now, not the future. Get on with it.



Challenger and neobanks are near to this dream. Not quite there yet, but very close.

Chris Skinner Author Avatar

Chris M Skinner

Chris Skinner is best known as an independent commentator on the financial markets through his blog,, as author of the bestselling book Digital Bank, and Chair of the European networking forum the Financial Services Club. He has been voted one of the most influential people in banking by The Financial Brand (as well as one of the best blogs), a FinTech Titan (Next Bank), one of the Fintech Leaders you need to follow (City AM, Deluxe and Jax Finance), as well as one of the Top 40 most influential people in financial technology by the Wall Street Journal's Financial News. To learn more click here...

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