Wells Fargo & Co. has partnered with Google LLC’s cloud business to build an artificial intelligence-powered virtual assistant that will help consumers with banking tasks.
The companies announced the partnership today. The bank’s new virtual assistant, which is known as Fargo, will roll out to its mobile app in the coming months.
Fargo enables users to perform common account management tasks using natural language instructions. The virtual assistant can enable and disable debit cards, provide information about recent transactions and carry out other actions that usually have to be carried out manually. If the virtual assistant receives a customer inquiry that can’t be answered automatically, it routes the request to Wells Fargo’s customer support group.
Fargo is powered by Google Cloud’s Dialogflow service, which provides tools for building virtual assistants. Dialogflow includes a visual interface that enables developers to build several of a virtual assistant’s core components without writing code, which saves time. The service also provides tools that ease the task of adding a newly developed virtual assistant to a company’s website and mobile apps.
Dialogflow is available in an entry-level edition and a more advanced version dubbed Dialogflow CX. The latter version makes it possible to equip a virtual assistant with natural language processing models based on BERT, a popular machine learning approach. Widely used in AI software projects, BERT enables a virtual assistant to interpret natural-language instructions more accurately than other machine learning methods.
“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,” said Yolande Piazza, vice president of financial services at Google Cloud.
Over time, Wells Fargo plans to update its new Fargo virtual assistant with additional capabilities. Support for Spanish is set to roll out next year. In addition, the bank plans to introduce several financial wellness features that will enable Fargo to help customers with tasks such as calculating budgets.
“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,” said Wells Fargo head of digital Michelle Moore.
Besides Wells Fargo, Google Cloud also counts many other large financial institutions among its customers. To expand its market presence, the search giant has developed multiple industry-specific offerings geared toward the financial sector.
In April, Google Cloud debuted a reference architecture designed to help banks more easily connect their cloud environments to the SWIFT payments network. The SWIFT network is used by banks to carry out international transactions worth trillions of dollars annually. According to Google Cloud, its reference architecture can reduce the amount of time and effort involved in connecting to the network.
Earlier, Google Cloud introduced an offering called Datashare for processing financial information. The offering makes it easier for organizations such as banks to source market data from their financial data suppliers.