Financial institutions have come a long way in the past decade through the development of technology to help navigate through the perilous sea of business and regulatory demands. However, despite the progress, banks continue their efforts to increase connections with customers. That’s why many financial institutions believe that automated tools called “chatbots” will surpass phone apps, websites, etc., to become the new bridge to increased consumer service and engagement. Why search on a website or download another app when you can simply ask a question and the robot will find the answer?

The Voice

The New York Times reported that Bank of America, MasterCard and several start-ups announced new virtual assistants that will boost financial interaction, initiation and, of course, information via text messages and services such as Facebook Messenger and Amazon’s Echo tower. CB Insights, a venture capital research firm, found 21 start-ups building interactive financial assistant-type tools across a range of industries and raising more than $120 million in funding.

A chatbot is another platform that must interface with a bank’s core, web, mobile and other systems to retrieve data for its customers. Software, such as Robotic Process Automation (RPA), has evolved over 20 years with greater logic and applicability — to the tune of some 400 use cases and counting — so that the “automated employee” can provide an interface between the bank and the chatbot. In other words, RPA software can work behind the scenes to turn voice into value.

Not all financial services and tech experts are eager to use chatbots. “Prepare to be frustrated by helpful artificial intelligence (AI) programs,” asserted the Financial Times. Josh Reich, the co-founder of the online bank Simple, told the New York Times, “We all know the technology is not there yet. It’s just people picking up on a hype cycle.” RPA is there for a bank’s operations, whether it’s a merger, system conversion, data breach or AI implementation.

The New Banking Interface

RPA is an affordable and accessible tool that mechanizes the movement of data between disparate platforms and applications, while easing the many other business concerns of operations staff. The incorporation of a new high-tech interface, such as a chatbot, can be a smooth and efficient task with RPA software’s simple setup that allows operations specialists to easily create fully automated, step-by-step “scripts” that describe exactly how data should be collected and moved, regardless of whether the data resides on Windows, web or legacy systems or the latest AI conduit.

Additionally, other developments in RPA software enable financial institutions to deploy multiple employees and computers simultaneously to execute scripts and complete data entry, transfers and other tasks. These run-time only licenses of RPA software, give bank operations managers the ability to command even more speed and accuracy across the enterprise.

Connections are absolutely critical in the financial services industry. With customers and their data being the lifeblood of the business, how banks interface with its consumers has never been more important. While chatbots could be that new and exciting customer banking interface, RPA has been the glue between old and new for two decades, connecting systems, people and financial institutions to a more efficient future.