Virtual assistants: the future, yet banks lagging.


  • Banks must embrace virtual assistants to redefine the customer experience.
  • Virtual assistants like Bank of America’s Erica and U.S. Bank’s Smart Assistant are leading the way in intelligent virtual assistant capabilities.
  • Many banks offer chatbots, but only a small percentage include first-generation AI-assisted virtual assistants.
  • Differences in virtual assistant capabilities create inconsistent customer experiences across financial service providers.
  • Intelligent virtual assistants offer advanced technological capabilities, including generative AI and natural language processing.
  • Intelligent virtual assistants have the potential to transform digital banking by offering predictive notifications, proactive alerts, and two-way voice interactions.
  • Banking institutions must embrace the transformation of virtual assistants to remain successful in a digitally fluent and customer-centric environment.

In this article, Susan Foulds discusses the importance for banks to embrace virtual assistants in order to redefine the customer experience. As virtual assistants become central to banking, financial institutions of all sizes must recognize the growing importance of a symbiotic relationship between man and machine. Intelligent virtual assistants, such as Bank of America’s Erica and U.S. Bank’s Smart Assistant, offer a glimpse into the future of banking, with capabilities that range from simple account inquiries to complex tasks such as transferring funds and providing analysis on spending. However, the banking industry as a whole has a significant journey ahead in consistently providing intelligent virtual assistant experiences that meet the growing needs and expectations of customers. While most banks offer chatbots, only a small percentage include more advanced capabilities with natural language processing and AI. This creates discrepancies in customer experience, even within the same bank or financial service provider. The essence of true intelligent virtual assistants lies in their advanced technological foundation, which includes generative AI, predictive analytics, and natural language processing. This allows virtual assistants to understand and respond to user queries and evolve through customer input and inquiries. They offer unique channel-dependent capabilities and have the potential to transform digital banking. With features such as predictive notifications and two-way voice interactions, virtual assistants can dramatically change the way customers interact with banking apps. It is essential for financial institutions to embrace and leverage this transformation in order to redefine the customer experience.