Bank of America’s top tech exec details why 5G and 3D printing are two tech trends that are key to the future of the bank

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Much of the focus across Wall Street these days is on the potential for distributed-ledger technology (DLT) to reshape markets and the way money moves.

But not everyone is as sold on where the tech can be used in finance. 

Speaking at a Bank of America virtual roundtable on Monday on the future of digital banking, Cathy Bessant, Bank of America’s chief operations and technology officer, shared her thoughts on the potential for DLT.

When asked by a moderator what cutting-edge tech she is excited about, Bessant’s first response was to say what isn’t as intriguing to her. 

Bessant said that while DLT, which underpins digital currencies and exchanges, is “a new and exciting technology,” the bank has yet to find a “solid use case” for it in financial services. 

Instead, Bessant has her eyes set on two other tech trends: 5G and 3D printing.

Execution of 5G will ‘dramatically change our ability’

Bessant said that she is keenly assessing the impact that 5G — the latest generation of mobile broadband — will have on Bank of America and its customers.

Wireless service providers say 5G tech, which has now been rolled out in certain areas nationwide depending on the mobile provider, offers both quicker speeds and broader connectivity.   

“It’s not new, but the execution of it at scale in the United States will be new. 5G is extremely, extremely important,” Bessant said, who added that 5G “execution, globally and of course in the US, really will dramatically change our ability.”

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Bank of America, like nearly every other financial institution even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, has dove headfirst into digital and mobile banking in recent years. 

As of the first quarter of 2021, Bank of America counts more than 40 million active digital consumer-banking users, the bank said. Just shy of half of all its consumer-banking sales are done digitally. 

The bank’s mobile penetration also extends beyond retail channels. For Merrill Lynch, the bank’s wealth management and advisory division, roughly 80% of households now use an online or mobile tool, while 74% of Bank of America’s institutional customers (across commercial, corporate, and business banking) are digitally active as well. 

Bessant said at the summit that 5G could address a wide range of issues, from the bandwidth challenges that come from working from home to software that requires large data usage to run.

Her comments were echoed by fellow Bank of America tech executive David Reilly, head of global banking and markets, enterprise risk and finance technology, and core technology infrastructure at the firm.

Reilly, who also spoke at the event, highlighted the importance of 5G tech for edge cloud computing, where data is analyzed more quickly by doing it closer to its point of collection.  

For Bank of America, Reilly said that could translate into “different ways to engage with clients than we’d had traditionally,” including new applications that leverage tools like video. 

Bank of America has previously publicly resisted the broader industry trend of public cloud adoption, instead choosing to build its own internal cloud service.

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Source:: Businessinsider – Finance


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