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BANKING

Cathy Cooper

Chuck Monroe

customer, in the moment, wherever they are. Advice will be specific to the individual – based on where they are and what they need to do,” Monroe said. Wells Fargo’s future includes artificial intelligence being a part of every aspect of the business and changing the way they work because Monroe believes that “AI is just one component – alongside in-person and contact center support – of providing great customer service.” EFFECT ON SMALLER BANKS Data and analytics are becoming a key competitive advantage in financial services, which makes it critical to organize now, Monroe said. “For companies of all sizes, there are a number of ways to approach AI, and many times that includes collaborating with FinTechs and other technology providers offering solutions.” “Smaller merchants are emerging as really robust players,” Zirkle said. “They are, I like to say, small but mighty. It’s trite and overused, but because of technology, smaller players have access to that technology, it is not exclusive to just the big guys, so by utilizing technology, smaller merchants and smaller processors can stand almost comparable to some of the bigger guys in beginning to incorporate and leverage technology such as artificial intelligence.” Zirkle said technology is becoming more and more accessible to everyone, not just the major players. “It’s a democratization of technology. It’s truly starting to happen,” Zirkle said. Despite this thinking, smaller banks are adopting AI significantly slower than their larger counterparts, according to the Mercator Advisory Group. “It is really becoming more accessible to all as they bring and build through in-house expertise, through their own research and development efforts,” Zirkle said. However, not all banks have a research and development function to help them leverage this technology.

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AB | May - June 2019

Jeff Schelter

Amy Zirkle

“(Smaller banks) can look toward opportunities for collaboration with similarly situated entities who share a common interest and goal in advancing AI use,” Zirkle said. “Late last year, there was an announcement of the creation of a group comprised of several small community and regional banks to examine opportunities to leverage new technologies. The group presented a means for smaller banks to pool their resources with an eye on shared opportunities.” Zirkle also said a collaboration such as this could reduce the risk involved with implementing new technology when smaller banks don’t have the same budgets as bigger banks, while still taking advantage of new technology. “It’s true that advancements in financial technologies are changing banking at nearly every level,” said Jeff Schelter, senior vice president of Alliance Bank of Arizona. He also said FinTech upstarts leveraging artificial intelligence are moving in-house or making partnerships with established banks. “Now, we’ll need to see if these new alliances drive more efficient financial platforms and better, more highly tailored banking solutions.” EFFECTS ON ARIZONA Schelter said Alliance Bank of Arizona’s customers are going to benefit from this shift to the new technology. While artificial intelligence will improve customer service, it will also lead to “bill paying with a few clicks” and “automated investing” becoming the new normal. “Financial technologies and artificial intelligence are quickly evolving, bringing unique value propositions to banks and customers,” Schelter said. “It will be interesting to see how the future of AI continues to fuel the innovation that is reshaping financial products and services within the established banking companies in Arizona. But the question remains at what speed will these advances be implemented and how will customers embrace them.”

Profile for AZ Big Media

AZBusiness May/June 2019  

In this issue, we spotlight the healthcare leaders and innovators of 2019 and profile the finalists for the Industry Leaders of Arizona Awar...

AZBusiness May/June 2019  

In this issue, we spotlight the healthcare leaders and innovators of 2019 and profile the finalists for the Industry Leaders of Arizona Awar...