Magazine article American Banker

Add Wells Fargo to List of Banks Testing Predictive Budgeting Tools

Magazine article American Banker

Add Wells Fargo to List of Banks Testing Predictive Budgeting Tools

Article excerpt

Byline: Mary Wisniewski

Imagine you open your mobile bank app up and it asks you if you want to make a travel plan for your upcoming trip to Myanmar or suggests you can afford to move money into your savings account this month.

For Wells Fargo's mobile customers, such suggestions -- of which there are more than 50 different kinds of messages -- could soon be available.

The San Francisco bank is testing the predictive features with employees and some customers. The bank said it plans to make the features available to all mobile customers later in the summer.

Katherine McGee, head of digital product management for Wells Fargo virtual channels, sees the expected mobile update as a way to help someone avoid a negative outcome or make a change before something is too late.

"We want this to be part of how customers lead financially healthy lives," said McGee.

For years, bankers have discussed the need to make predictive recommendations in a similar way to how Amazon does for shoppers or Business Insider does for readers. Rather than suggest shoes like a retailer or a sex scandal story like a media outlet, the idea is to crunch financial data -- something the bank already has -- to suggest financial next steps.

To date, however, the execution of the idea remains in its infancy. While startups, like Dave or Digit, make financial forecasts, most mobile banking apps only spit out historical data rather than crunch it to make a prediction of what someone may need or want. …

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