The future of banking is basically robots running everything

Financial institutions are already using artificial intelligence to cut costs and deliver new services. But what about the customers? In 2020, we will start to see more and more AI-powered financial services for customers and by customers.

Robo-advisers, chatbots and copbots auto-detecting fraudulent transactions are increasingly common. These uses are undoubtedly valuable, but the business model is still the consumers being sold a loan by a bank, whether that’s by a call centre agent, or a robot that impersonates a mortgage vendor.

The big change in financial services will come when customers use AI to assess offers from financial institutions. They will have access to AI as powerful as the banks have – because Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon (and companies like them) will be giving it to them. And this will mean individuals won’t be the customers: their bots will be.

People will want – and develop – their own bots to take care of things. Financial services will no longer be about 300-year-old brands, which a bot isn’t necessarily aware of, or sponsoring sporting events, which a bot doesn’t care about. Bots will be able to negotiate with their counterparts – bots at regulated financial institutions – to obtain the best possible product for their owners.


There are still some details to be worked out. If customers aren’t sure that they want to be in the loop when the details of a pension plan are being explained, they will still want some sort of assurance that there’s a regulator involved.

But if a regulatory framework evolves, then the key question for consumers will become a question of which bot, not which bank. Consumers will choose bots whose moral and ethical frameworks are congruent with theirs. If customers can find such a bot, then why would they risk making suboptimal choices around their financial health by interfering in their decisions?

In 2020, bots will be given access to consumers’ bank accounts (through open banking, for example) and will be capable of making decisions for consumers. They will be capable of deciding what services to use, who to get them from, and how to maximise their financial wellbeing, leaving their users to spend more time on human activities.

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