When can you trust a robot for financial advice?

We at The Basis Point are firm believers that you just want to talk to other people when doing business.

The major reason financial services is pushing AI on you is because it’s cheaper for the financial institution to code a robot to do something rather than pay a person to do it. For everyday stuff, that’s fine, but for big transactions like buying a house, most of us want to talk to a human.

Even though traditional banks are facing tough competition from awesome startup “not banks” like SoFi, the challengers don’t have the support system good banks do.

To make themselves seem sexier, a lot of banks are rolling out new products or partnering with younger, hotter startup companies. But shiny objects won’t solve your financial troubles, and I think leaders at banks understand this.

That’s why reading this quote from a J.P. Morgan Chase exec about how the bank partners with financial technology companies stood out to me.

Colleen Briggs, who runs J.P.’s community banking innovation group, said that new tech is cool and all, but a lot of us just need good service and not flashy apps, especially if we’re not well-off.

“A digital-only solution might not be the right mix for somebody who is really financially stressed,” Briggs said. “I think the really thoughtful solutions are coming with some interesting models to think about, ‘Alright, let’s drive digital solutions through AI and machine learning when we can, but then also know when is the moment when I need to refer someone to a human touch or a human element to actually help them with a really particular pain point that they are facing.’”

What Briggs outlines here is exactly the hybrid model we discuss often here at The Basis Point. Automate stuff that should be easy, but humans advise on the tough decisions.

What will separate good banks from the bad in the future is how effective they are at figuring out when you need to talk to a person, how fast they can get you in touch with them, and how invisible they feel outside of those interactions.

It seems that J.P. Morgan understands this, and it’s their game to lose since so many of you bank with them already.

You’ll notice I’m hammering this point a lot. It’s because we deserve to have financial services experiences that don’t suck.

Financial institutions have a lot of power over us. They should cater to you on your terms.

Like I’ve said before, normal people like you and me aren’t first adopters. We don’t want the shiniest new thing—we just want something that works. What will determine whether SoFi or J.P. Morgan wins your business will be who gives you the best service while staying out of your hair.


A JPMorgan exec explains why AI won’t take over the fintech world any time soon (Business Insider)

The Case For Why Technology Shouldn’t Make Financial Decisions For People (The Basis Point)

How Will Your Favorite Finance App Break The News To You That It’s Now A Bank? (The Basis Point)

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