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Blog March 29, 2024

Learnings from the 2024 Bank Automation Summit

As a company dedicated to harnessing the power of intelligent automation to transform the financial sector, CapTech was eager to attend the Bank Automation Summit in Nashville, Tennessee, this past March. The two-day summit offered a unique blend of industry insights and cutting-edge solutions, featuring speakers from Bank of America, PNC, Wells Fargo, and other industry leaders. After attending multiple panels, technology demos, and networking sessions, we’ve come away with a few takeaways.

Banks are Emphasizing RPA More Than AI

Over the course of the summit, a key trend became clear: banks are more comfortable with Robotic Process Automation (RPA) solutions than they are with AI. This hesitancy is understandable. RPA excels in automating high volume, repetitive tasks while AI is more adept at addressing complex, data-driven challenges that require adaptive decision-making and learning.

While these more complex challenges may occur less frequently, streamlining them is still vital to keeping pace with the ever-evolving financial landscape. Rather than prioritize RPA over AI, banks should use AI to augment RPA-powered processes, which can significantly enhance efficiency, customer experience, and adaptability. The RPA panel at the summit highlighted this point, arguing that the integration of RPA and a holistic AI strategy is imperative for banks looking to innovate and stay competitive.

Banks are Focused on Internal AI-Usage, not External (for now)

While RPA remains the dominant technology for many in the industry, the summit revealed a growing number of banks cautiously exploring the potential of AI. However, most of these organizations are still in the early stages of exploration and simply aren’t ready to deploy AI into higher risk client and customer-facing experiences.

Instead, many are focusing their AI experimentation on internal usage, opting for a low risk, high-reward pilot programs to assess its potential. By introducing internal prototypes, financial organizations can evaluate uses cases while establishing appropriate governance frameworks that can be socialized with regulators before broader implementation.

Results are Mixed

One of the most talked-about AI applications at the summit was code generation, with several banks piloting its use with developers. Yet the pilot programs yielded mixed results.

For example, a large bank saw a 30-40% gain in efficiency during a pilot with 40 developers. Another bank’s pilot, which included a blend of junior, mid-level, and senior developers, showed that AI actually slowed down senior developers and decreased productivity among junior developers.

This discrepancy may be attributed to the experience level of the participants. The senior developers might have viewed the AI-generated code as over-engineered, and lost time by simplifying or correcting the code, whereas the junior developers may have placed too much trust in the AI-generated code, leading to wasted time debugging errors later in the process.

The only group to see tangible benefits from AI were the mid-level developers, whose experience may have allowed them to identify errors in the AI-generated code, while still finding it valuable as a springboard for their own ideas.

Insights gleaned from pilot programs at the summit paint a compelling picture: AI holds potential to increase efficiency, but it is not currently a one-size-fits-all solution, and its success hinges on its careful deployment at the right levels, for the right use cases.

Looking Ahead: How AI Can Increase Customer Value

It was encouraging to see many financial institutions leaning into AI, even though their initial applications were primarily internal. But not everyone was keeping their AI behind the scenes.

Bank of America led a discussion showcasing their foray into customer-facing AI via CashPro® Chat, an integrated virtual service advisor in the CashPro banking platform. Fueled by the bank’s AI-powered Erica technology, CashPro Chat can answer FAQs, perform tasks, and offer proactive insights.

Erica and CashPro exemplify the value of incorporating AI and high-touch customer service, and we hope it isn’t long before other financial organizations follow Bank of America’s lead and start using AI to elevate customer value.