Bank of America has announced that it is bringing to market a digital financial planning tool that would rival fintech companies that have developed similar products.
According Bank of America, Life Plan will be the name of a new website and mobile app which will help clients with aspirations of better credit scores, retirement savings and home and car loans. The company is optimistic that it is the right set of tools because it was developed in part off of client data that will help with recommendations. The tools may serve to level the playing field between high net worth individuals and more traditional retail banking customers in terms of service. While fintech firms have often used such tools to appeal to the general public through other means, Bank of America is doing it through client data.
Bank of America is known for its services to some of America’s wealthiest individuals through its wire houses. However, the tool was launched to meet the objective, it seems, of soft referrals to bankers. During this year’s pilot period Bank of America stated that it led to over 3,000 referrals to bankers. The bank can target customers in such a way that cuts through some of the initial probing. One executive of the bank stated, “Planning is no longer an activity that’s born out of how much money you have.” The bank is clearly looking to gain market share by looking to customers with moderate income comparatively to its traditional customer base for banking needs.
It gives Bank of America control over its customer data as they use the bank’s tools as opposed to outsourcing the applications to a fintech firm. Although banks already have a great deal of information on its customer base, the goal of LifePlan is to provide a full picture of a customer’s financial situation by simplifying the process.
Another Bank of America employee stated, “We’re not necessarily targeting and replacing something that clients may be using or comfortable with, but it’s certainly something that we feel is going to naturally happen as the clients continue to engage.”