Celent Names Bank of America a Leader in Banking and Wealth Management Innovation

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The FINANCIAL — Bank of America announced that it has been recognized by Celent, a global research and advisory firm for the financial services industry, with the 2021 Model Bank award for Customer Engagement and the 2021 Model Wealth Manager award for Emerging Technology.

Celent’s annual awards program recognizes financial institutions as ‘model banks’ and ‘model wealth managers’ for outstanding technology initiatives. Winning initiatives must demonstrate clear business benefits, innovation, and technology or implementation excellence according Bank of America.

Erica, Bank of America’s AI-driven virtual financial assistant, was recognized by Celent as an important and successful element of the company’s overall high-tech, high-touch client engagement strategy. Erica delivers personalization at scale, providing clients always-evolving enhancements that tailor the experience to their specific needs.

Since its nationwide launch in June 2018, Erica has helped more than 18 million clients complete more than 250 million requests.
The number of unique ways clients can ask financial questions of Erica has grown exponentially, from roughly 250,000 at launch to well over 1 million currently.
The true measure of success for technology and innovation is client feedback – 90% of Bank of America’s clients say Erica’s functionality creates tremendous convenience and helps them save valuable time and money Bank of America notes.

“When we design or enhance a product or service, including Erica, we are guided by a deep understanding of our clients’ needs and what capabilities will help them to lead better financial lives,” said Aditya Bhasin, head of Consumer, Small Business, Wealth Management and Employee Experience Technology at Bank of America. “We strive to ensure our client journeys are smart and seamless, no matter where or how they choose to interact with us.”

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Celent also recognized Merrill Lynch’s Client Engagement Workstation (CEW) for being a “game-changer across its advisor network.” CEW is a completely reimagined workstation through which advisors and their teams can manage client relationships, activities and interactions. The workstation includes the ability to manage multiple clients simultaneously from one screen that fits any device – which is especially beneficial in a work-from-home environment or when on the road. CEW also incorporates the AI-technology behind Erica to inform “Client Insight” alerts.

“We recognized the need for a highly sophisticated, ‘intelligent’ advisor workstation that enables advisors and their teams to provide comprehensive, personalized service and advice to their clients as efficiently as possible,” said Kirstin Hill, Chief Operating Officer of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management. “CEW frees up advisors to spend more time serving their clients and growing their businesses.”

“The Model Bank and Model Wealth Manager Awards recognize how banks are using technology to change the face of banking and wealth management,” said Bob Meara, Senior Banking Analyst at Celent. Ashley Longabaugh, Senior Wealth Management Analyst at Celent added, “Bank of America clearly demonstrated itself as an inspiration to others looking for strong examples of best practice implementation that will have a truly meaningful impact on business results and the industry overall.”

Nominations are submitted by financial institutions and undergo a rigorous evaluation process by Celent analysts. Celent judges submissions on three core criteria: demonstrable business benefits of live initiatives, the degree of innovation relative to the industry and the technology or implementation excellence.

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