It Takes Both High-Touch and High-Tech, Says Bank of America CEO

Jan 23

Bank of America has gone massively digital and it is now powering their growth. “We had a billion and a half logins to our apps last quarter,” says Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan. “This is not theoretical. We are one of the largest digital companies. We are also one of the largest physical companies. It takes both high-touch and high-tech.”

Brian Moynihan, CEO of Bank of America, discusses the digitalization of banking with Fox Business at Davos 2019:

Consumers Have a Branch in Their Pocket

On the consumer side, they have a branch in their pocket. Anything you can do at a branch, in the traditional banking sense, or over the phone, you can do in your app. There are 36 million digital users, 26 million mobile users who are not digital users growing at 10-15 percent a year. Sales are at the 20 percent level and 25 percent of all sales are digital. Our digital mortgage product is growing. Our digital auto product is growing. What you can do is do everything.

Half of the checks we have are deposited at the ATM and a little over 25 percent of deposits are by people taking pictures of them with their phone. It’s the exact same activity but you don’t have to go anywhere. You can do everything.  

Then you have Erica. We have five million Erica users and it only started a little over a year ago. That’s where people can just talk and ask questions and it learns about you. It’s artificial intelligence voice recognition program. When you pay your bills you just say, “I need to pay X.” It will say, “You want to pay X, here is the amount.”  Think about how easy it is versus writing out checks or even going into digital bill payment. The technology enables consumers to do more faster and easier.

Apps on the Institutional Side Getting Interesting Too

The applications on the institutional side are getting interesting too. Believe it or not, corporate treasurers want mobile capabilities also. With Cashpro Mobile they can initiate a $5 million wire on a mobile device while sitting in a meeting with all the controls around it and all of the foreign currency features.

To me, it was… really? But absolutely, that’s the way they want to do it because that’s the way they are used to operating.

It Takes Both High-Touch and High-Tech

We had a billion and a half logins to our apps last quarter. This is not theoretical. We are one of the largest digital companies. We are also one of the largest physical companies. It takes both high-touch and high-tech.

What have we learned? We are always a curious company and always out their learning. When we go and talk to fintech companies or observe what they are doing, more importantly, we’re trying to learn what does the customer see in that activity that they don’t see in our activity? Then we look at how we can adapt to that.

Are we interested in acquiring fintech companies? There will be no acquisitions, we just work.

Small Business Still Very Optimistic About the Economy

We do more small business than most of the people in the world. When you think about small business, what’s interesting is that the business community in the United States is very optimistic still. Even though they are not as optimistic as they were at the highest point they’re still very optimistic on a relative basis.

In our small business surveys late last Fall they are saying, “We’re going to invest more. We’re going to hire more. We can’t get people.” Those are the common themes.

I think it is a good year for investment as long as we solve a couple of key issues. We have to get the sutdown done. The incremental impact of the workers is important but it’s also just the process of getting approvals and stuff is being held up. Then ultimately the trade situation has to be solved. I’m not giving you any news, everybody says that, but it’s time to get some of this stuff done.

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