Despite a perceived risk aversion, the financial sector has been pioneering automation for decades. Over 50 years ago, the ATM became one of the first automated machines to integrate into our daily lives, revolutionizing society’s relationship and access to cash.

Automation has come a long way since ATMs, but the financial sector continues to lead artificial intelligence adoption. Computers have simplified transaction processing, freeing up agents to work on complex and time consuming cases. They have perfected fraud detection and maximized investments.

As a second wave of automation takes hold of the financial sector, machines will be expected to take over up to a quarter of employee work in the bank sector, according to research company McKinsey.

Here’s how you will benefit from automation in the financial industry:

Time is money

Perhaps more than in any other industry, financial sector clients understand the value of time. Automated transaction banking is freeing up employees from low-value, time-consuming tasks essential to the daily functions of a bank. Wire transfers, currency clearing and even loan approvals are being automated and transferred online, saving customers from long, cumbersome lines and delays that, in a fast moving industry, can cost millions. In this vain, Bank of New York Mellon Corp rolled out an army of 220 robots responsible for taking over repetitive tasks, like money transfers, saving the company $300,000 annually.

Safer risks

The globalization of finance means banks have to address increasingly complex security risks across borders. Marred by the publicized hacks of the last decade, clients have lower tolerance for lapses in safety than ever before. This has brought fraud detection squarely to the front the forefront of any serious financial operation. CitiBank, for example, has implemented an artificial intelligence system known as Feedzai to mine data across platforms, identify and all but eradicate fraud in online and in-person banking.

Smarter investments

Beyond safety and speed, investments are smarter than ever before. Automated portfolios allow customers to maximize and diversify their earnings with the click of a button, eliminating costly advisors and bypass banks all together. In fact, automated portfolios rose 210% between 2014 and 2015, according to the research firm Aite Group.

As banks increasingly rely on artificial intelligence, one thing is clear: When investments become faster, safer and smarter, everyone profits.

Marina Lopes is a freelance reporter and producer covering technology, politics and economy. Her articles and videos have appeared in the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, the BBC, NBC, and the PBS NewsHour.
Marina holds a graduate degree in journalism from Columbia University and a bachelor’s degree in International Relations from Boston College.

She speaks Portuguese, Spanish, English and French.

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