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2019 Fintech Outlook: Data and robots, oh my!

BBVA Compass Head of New Business Development Pepe Olalla says in 2019 early stage technologies will mature – for example more use cases for blockchain – but it’s AI-related technology that will take center stage.

Olalla, talking about the 2019 fintech outlook, said that he is seeing more technology coming in to the market related to using AI – and the data that backs it – to create smarter systems that help customers in their financial journey.

Olalla: Financial institutions have large amounts of data, and now with AI, they can use it to personalize banking for customers…

“I think what we’ll see more of in the market will be labeled AI, but really, it’s the use of big data to create these AI systems that will be interesting,” he said. “Financial institutions have large amounts of data, and now with AI, they can use it to personalize banking for customers based on their individual goals and needs.”

Olalla said that using data in this way is consistent with how BBVA understands its responsibility to customers, which is to use the information it has – with the customer’s permission – to help them understand where they are in terms of financial health.

“It’s an exciting time to be in the banking industry, because the ability to serve our customers according to their unique needs is at hand with the combination of big data and advances in AI to help better mine it,” he said. “With it, we can have a holistic view of the customer, that moves away from product orientation and into helping them understand their complete financial health using all variables, from income to expenses, assets, age, household composition and more.”

Olalla goes on to say that this idea – helping customers understand their complete financial health – will be underscored by what he calls the trust cycle. Access to customer data both inside and outside the bank is required to provide these types of value added services for customers, which in turn requires their consent for data sharing. Thus, a circle is created – consent leads to provision of data which leads to better advice. Better advice leads to customer trust in their financial institution, which leads to additional consent and more services.

BBVA Compass Head of New Business Development Pepe Olalla

Olalla is not alone in his prediction that 2019 will see data and AI being used on a grander scale than ever before. In an article on Forbes.com, Broadsuite Media Group CEO Daniel Newman calls data the linchpin to digital transformation, saying “With improved processing power that can increase machine learning, we are going to see digital leaders investing in making more of all of their data and this will be done with machine learning and AI.”

In its story Devil’s Dozen: Top 13 FinTech Trends in 2019, Intellias predicts the top 13 fintech trends in 2019, saying that “All global FinTech trends and predictions for 2019 swirl around innovations and data.” In a close echo of Olalla’s comments, IBM Chief Digital Officer Bob Lord indicates that effectively mining the vast amounts of data banks have through the use of AI will help transform financial services.

Olalla: …it’s the right time for banks to begin using the intelligence they have to help customers understand which [products] will help them accomplish [their] financial goals…

“It’s true that bank customers have more access than ever before to financial products and services, and those services are more varied,” Olalla said. “With these complete products sets, it’s the right time for banks to begin using the intelligence they have to help customers understand which of those will help them accomplish the financial goals they have for themselves and their families. Advances in data mining and AI mean that this is something we should be seeing more of across the industry in 2019.”

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