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ATB Financial Taps Finn.ai to Launch Smart Banking Assistant on Facebook Messenger

A partnership between Edmonton’s ATB Financial and Vancouver’s Finn.ai has spun out an AI-powered virtual banking assistant on Facebook Messenger.

The intelligent virtual assistant is officially launching today to ATB’s nearly 700,000 personal banking customers.

The fintech startup and Alberta bank first announced they were testing the AI and chatbot banking technology in February with early adopters. Working with Finn.ai, the financial institution is powering access to secure, day-to-day personal banking directly in the Messenger app.

“At ATB we’re innovating at the forefront of robotics, AI, biometrics and blockchain, and we’re so excited to bring conversational commerce to all our personal banking customers,” said Wellington Holbrook, ATB Chief Technology Officer in a release.

“It’s one more way we’re delivering on our commitment to really make banking work for people… It lets you do your banking whenever, wherever, and however works best for you.”

No need to walk to a brick-and-mortar bank. Through Messenger, ATB customers can pay bills, view account balances, send e-transfers or transfer money between accounts all on the platform. The smart assistant can also share spending insights and connect customers to a human customer representative if needed. As added security, accessing these banking capabilities through the virtual assistant requires two-step verification.

The Rise of Consumer-Focused AI in Banking

Accenture declared that AI is the new UI in its Banking Technology Vision 2017. The report explained that while AI in banking isn’t new, the move for banks to use AI beyond processes, such as accuracy and cost benefits, to interaction is a change.

“Tapping AI-enabled tools (like centralized platforms/assistants or messaging bots) to enhance front-end services is a game changer,” the report reads.

They found that 71 per cent of banks believe that AI is capable of becoming the face of their organization or brand, with nearly two-thirds of banks believing AI interfaces may even come the primary way they interact with customers.

“Basically, AI is creating a new era of computing, rapidly moving from mobile-first to AI-first in the customer experience and moving staff to more judgment-based and higher value added roles,” the report continued.

The rise of fintech companies has also underscored the need for traditional financial institutions to adapt digital capabilities. TD Bank and RBC have both harnessed AI to further personalize and simply the banking experience.

“AI is completely reinventing the consumer banking experience,” said Jake Tyler, CEO at Finn.ai. “With the Finn.ai platform, you get more than immediate, secure banking access, you get smart, personalized financial insights to help you achieve your specific financial goals. We’re excited to join forces with ATB and bring this innovative technology to another segment of our fast-growing customer base.”

ATB doesn’t just have their eye on Facebook Messenger for its new technology.

“We will be tracking the value the virtual assistant provides so that we can potentially replicate this model through additional delivery channels, such as smart televisions, devices and other social networks,” said Holbrook.

Since Facebook announced Messenger’s support for chatbots in April 2016, thousands have been added to the chat platform.

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