Wells Fargo Launches Google Cloud-Powered AI Assistant ‘Fargo’
Wells Fargo has begun rolling out the new ‘Fargo’ virtual assistant, using Google Cloud’s AI to provide an interactive virtual bank teller to customers. Fargo, first announced a year ago, is part of the accelerating expansion of financial AI tools.
Customers can already ask Fargo to search for transactions, check credit limits, and turn debit cards on or off, and can connect users to human assistance as needed. The bank has a long runway of other features it wants to include next year, including augmenting the AI with proactive suggestions to improve their finances by noting subscriptions that may be superfluous, setting up budgets, and suggesting investment plans. Fargo will also learn to communicate in Spanish. Google Cloud’s Dialogflow platform enables Fargo to understand and carry out banking tasks without manually paging through a list of options, relying on more natural conversational language.
“As mobile banking has become Wells Fargo customers’ most preferred way to bank, we will continue to innovate in collaboration with strategic partners like Google Cloud to build customer experiences that motivate and support them on their financial journeys,” Wells Fargo consumer digital head Michelle Moore said. “This partnership will expand our customers’ digital financial support network by enabling meaningful money conversations conveniently from their mobile device. It’s more than just dollars and cents; it’s about uplifting our customers’ emotional and financial well-being by understanding their financial goals and providing the most convenient interactions to meet those goals.”
Moore says Wells Fargo is pushing the new app as a way of keeping the bank’s 27 million mobile customers happy and potentially attracting new customers. Digital banking is surging in popularity, the fastest of any channel in its history, according to Wells Fargo. In the third quarter of this year, mobile logins jumped 14% from the year before to 1.6 billion logins.
AI banking assistants have rapidly become a common facet for financial institutes. Moore has played a key role in two of them now, having previously helped Bank of America develop its Erica AI assistant before joining Wells Fargo in 2020. Erica’s popularity has skyrocketed in the last couple of years, but is hardly alone anymore. since the pandemic. U.S. Bank launched a voice assistant for its mobile app and added Spanish as an option this year. Conversational AI startups focused on finance meanwhile are a hot acquisition item, but Wells Fargo went with the more time-tested and sturdy option of Google Cloud.
“Today’s announcement marks a milestone for Google Cloud as we expand our partnership with Wells Fargo to evolve the digital banking experience,” Google Cloud vice president of financial services Yolande Piazza said. “By pairing our leading AI and natural language processing capabilities with Wells Fargo’s industry-leading banking experience, we can provide customers with connected, personalized tools that seamlessly blend with their financial needs.”