B2B Payments

JPMorgan Develops AI Virtual Assistant For Corporate Customers

JPMorgan’s treasury management services are the financial institution’s (FI) latest target for technological innovation, reports in CNBC said Wednesday (June 20).

The bank is reportedly testing an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered bot to support corporate clients and anticipate their needs. The publication said such a bot would be a first for the corporate payments industry.

JPMorgan’s treasury unit handles $5 trillion in corporate transactions a day. Now, the FI is broadening trials of its new AI solution with business clients next year. Pilot testing for the tool begins next week, reports noted, and while the bank did not disclose how much it has invested in the virtual assistant, the firm has reported that 40 percent of its $10.8 billion annual technology budget goes toward development of new tools.

“We think there’s a huge opportunity to suggest creative and insightful recommendations to clients,” Jason Tiede, managing director and head of innovation for JPMorgan’s treasury services, said in an interview with CNBC. “When you log in, it can say, ‘Looks like you have sent 100 U.S. dollar wires to Singapore. Do you know you could send a foreign exchange ACH payment instead? Click here to sign up.’”

It’s part of the bank’s broader efforts to enhance financial service offerings with automation, but its focus on corporates signals the industry’s growing interest in B2B payments innovation. Reports pointed to Bank of America and Wells Fargo that are similarly introducing artificial intelligence-powered virtual assistants for business clients.

But the B2B payments and corporate banking space can present new challenges for AI innovators.

“For instance, while a checking customer typically has a handful of accounts, a company could have 10,000 accounts in dozens of currencies around the world, and each individual corporate user typically has permission to see only certain accounts,” CNBC noted.

The AI initiative also signals JPMorgan’s heightened competitive edge against rivals like Citigroup to lead the commercial payments space. The virtual assistant does not yet have a name, but, according to Tiede, the tool was initially designed to help clients more easily navigate JPMorgan’s website.

According to Tiede, the assistant continuously learns from past interactions with users to more accurately recommend next courses of action. For instance, the tool is able to suggest that a user call certain businesses because they are late on invoice payments.

He added that JPMorgan eventually hopes to expand the virtual assistant to work on mobile and voice-activated devices as well.

JPMorgan’s treasury services accounted for about $7.6 billion in revenues in 2017.

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