BMO Bank has been “heavily” investing in its technology architecture for the past five years.
The bank reached a “major milestone” at the end of 2016, according to David Gordon, the bank’s U.S. chief technology and operations officer. “That’s in terms of all the tech capabilities we have built, which will fuel the next big round of investments in 2017 to expand those services,” he told Bank Innovation.
Gordon — with over a decade of tech experience from Capital One and Accenture, among other companies — joined the bank in 2015.
Last month, BMO launched P2P payments service, as well as enabled BMO Harris Bank Masterpass – a Mastercard-branded wallet, together with Android Pay and Samsung Pay. But there’s a lot more in the pipeline, Gordon said.
“Disruption has already happened with our customers, with things like Amazon, Uber and Lyft transforming their relevant industries, and financial world is no different,” he said. The bank is already working on several blockchain pilots, together with R3 consortium, and is investing in data analytics for security features.
“When it comes to security, we want to keep the right balance and not get too close to the customer,” Gordon explained. “We are looking into different uses of biometric identification, aside from the usual thumbprint, as well as looking to utilize behavioral analytics, which means we are stepping into cognitive analytics, AI, and machine learning space.”
When it comes to offering new features, the bank is more of a fast follower. For the wealth management sector, for example, the bank will start adding roboadvising features soon. “We are also looking into things like Amazon Alexa, and certainly already have the architecture for that,” he said. The same goes for things like in-car payments. “With Apple getting into cars, we are certainly watching that space. We have the underlying architecture, where we think we can move quickly there, once launched. But the goal is to provide an integrated experience for customers, using whatever tools they prefer.” The bank is “constantly” monitoring the customer interest in those channels, but there are no immediate projects as of now.
And that experience translates into branches as well: BMO has already launched several “smart branches” that have more of a “cafe feel” – similar to what we saw with Bank of America and Capital One – with “roaming” advisors, instead of tellers.
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