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Bank of America Launches Erica, Its Virtual Assistant

Bank of America is gearing up to launch a virtual assistant named Erica, which will rely on artificial intelligence to provide tips for mobile phone users to enhance their finances.

According to a report by Reuters, Erica won’t be like a robot, rather “she” will be smarter because she will be able to bring up topics and use predictive analytics, which goes beyond just answering questions. Reuters noted the virtual assistant, for example, could give a customer tips to improve their credit score.

“Erica has your back, and she’s looking out for you,” said Michelle Moore, head of digital banking for Bank of America. Moore said the name Erica came from the last five letters from Bank of America. The tool was unveiled this week during the Money20/20 financial industry conference in Las Vegas. Erica will be rolled out to customers late next year and will be able to talk to customers by text, as well as voice, said Moore.

The move on the part of Bank of America comes at a time when traditional financial services firms are embracing technology that had previously been a staple of FinTech startups. Earlier in the month, Goldman Sachs launched Marcus by Goldman Sachs, an online platform offering unsecured personal loans to consumers. Named after Marcus Goldman, one of the firm’s founders, Marcus by Goldman Sachs is a new business that Goldman Sachs said benefits from the firm’s 147-year history of financial expertise, risk management and customer service.

In a press release, Goldman Sachs said Marcus provides consumers with a transparent and simple approach to consolidate their high-interest credit card debt. At Marcus.com, creditworthy borrowers can apply for fixed-rate, no-fee personal loans of up to $30,000 for periods of two to six years.

“For many who manage debt payments on high-interest rate credit cards, a straightforward personal loan is a better solution,” said Harit Talwar, head of Marcus by Goldman Sachs, in the press release. “Marcus offers an option for consumers who are searching for a simpler alternative to credit card borrowing, where rates can change and multiple fees can be charged.”

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