This week’s tech news, filtered for financial services execs

May 23

Hello and welcome to Insights Distilled, a weekly email briefing that curates tactical technology news for financial services execs. Every Tuesday morning, we send you the top five stories you need to know – and explain why they matter. Our tech news roundup helps you stay on top of the innovations driving business agility in your industry. To get next week’s edition in your inbox, sign up here.


As with most things in life, there’s no single right answer when it comes to approaching artificial intelligence, quantum computing, or preventing fraud. Ultimately, the biggest risk for FinServs is not experimenting at all. 

We hope that the tactics laid out in this week’s features will accelerate and inspire your thinking as you fine-tune your own perspectives, playbooks, and strategies.  


Let’s dive in:

  1. Executive organization: How top banks structure their AI efforts
  2. Social media frenzy: Strategies for managing risk in the wake of SVB's collapse
  3. Quashing qubits: A sober take on quantum computing for FinServs
  4. Aussies organizing: Banks band together to jointly prevent fraud
  5. Gamified savings: Truist launches new education game

Here are the org structures for the biggest US banks’ artificial intelligence efforts, ranging from a dedicated “center of excellence” to business-line experts. 

None of the biggest banks in the United States have the same organizational arrangement for their AI efforts; seeing other approaches – and getting to know some of the top execs – could inspire your strategy.

Who are the top artificial intelligence-focused execs in the banking world, and how do your peers and competitors structure their AI efforts?  

The top US banks each have their own unique strategies for deploying AI throughout their orgs, according to Insider. Here’s a peek at how several firms are taking on this transformational technology

  • JPMorgan divides its efforts between Manuela Veloso, head of AI research, and David Castillo, firmwide head of AI/ML technology. Veloso oversees big-picture research, while Castillo leads implementation across JPMorgan’s operations. Drew Cukor, the firm’s chief data officer, also manages AI/ML transformation and engagement across the firm.  
  • All of Citigroup’s artificial intelligence efforts funnel through its AI center of excellence, run by Prag Sharma. Sharma reports into Nimrod Barak, head of Citi’s Innovation Labs. 
  • Bank of America organizes its AI efforts along business lines, with chief experience officers from difference divisions, including consumer banking (Teron Douglas) and wealth management (Christian Kitchell), reporting into BofA’s chief digital and chief marketing officer, David Tyrie.  

For more details and the structures at other top banks, read Insider’s full feature here


Following SVB’s rapid downfall, banks are developing emergency response plans to mitigate social media’s risks. Here are the key strategies to follow.  

Recent events have proven that social media should be integrated into banks’ risk-management programs, and that firms should deploy dedicated tools and proactive communication.

Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse – as well as subsequent failures and recent hearings – taught the industry an important lesson: The havoc that negative social media chatter can wreak on banks shouldn’t be taken lightly. 

Tweets questioning SVB’s financial health “prompted nervous customers to pull $1 million per second from their accounts,” according to Reuters, which reports that banking execs have spent the past several months looking for ways to amp up their emergency response and risk capabilities around social media. 

Here are three concrete steps banks should take to shore up their social media strategies: 

Dedicate resources to tools and the staff managing them: “There are so many social media monitoring tools today, but the use of those tools is often delegated to threadbare marketing teams or third-party vendors,” according to Jim Perry, senior strategist at Market Insights. Banks need to both fund tools and “dedicate more human resources to social media monitoring,” he added.  

Be proactive in resolving customer concerns and quashing misinformation: Banks should identify and communicate with their “influential community members” and proactively counter any misinformation, according to Consumer Bankers Association CEO Lindsey Johnson. Contact people directly who complain on social media and address their issues quickly.  

Educate customers through transparency: In addition to tackling communication from key people, spread facts and resources to all depositor bases via email, Twitter, and LinkedIn, Johnson added.   

You can read Reuters’ full report here


UBS’ experimentation with quantum computing for trading found no significant advantage over existing technologies, according to its former head of data.   

Quantum computing is still in its infancy and UBS’ experiences demonstrate how FinServs’ efforts may not lead to any real-world products. Still, the experimentation is worth it for the skills-building and research.  

UBS abandoned its efforts to use quantum computing for trading, because the technology didn’t provide any substantial advantage, its former chief data officer, Lee Fulmer, said at a recent conference.  

Quantum – an emerging computing paradigm that promises to perform calculations at blistering speeds – is still in its experimental phase. And those experiments don’t always work out, per Fulmer’s experiences.  

UBS was trying to use quantum computing to speed up the bank’s existing trading models in order to “give us a competitive advantage,” he said. “In investment banking you live and die by microseconds: The end result of all of that effort was that we found we weren’t getting a substantive uplift.”  

Fulmer left the firm in March, but his sobering perspective shows why early experimentation is crucial in shaping an overarching quantum strategy: Certain domains may never benefit from quantum computing, but it’s better to try and fail to find an advantage than to be left behind.  

 As Insights Distilled has previously reported, other FinServs are testing quantum in other areas of their businesses with varying results:  

Credit Agricole successfully completed two real-world experiments earlier this year that found it could achieve “faster valuations and more accurate risk assessments” using quantum techniques, while Banque de France is preparing to protect itself against encryption-breaking quantum tactics. Mastercard, meanwhile, is experimenting with ways to use quantum computing to improve its loyalty and rewards program, and HSBC, JPMorgan, and Ally have their own tests, too. 


Australia’s top banks are banding together to share information through a real-time reporting network that could help prevent a particularly brutal type of scam and drastically cut the time to resolve cases. 

17 Australian banks launched a new digital platform called the Fraud Reporting Exchange (FRX) that enables near real-time prevention tactics, which are particularly helpful for authorized push payment (APP) fraud, where victims get swindled into willingly sending money to bad actors under false pretenses.

It’s mateship in action: A group of banks including HSBC, ING, and Westpac are involved in a new effort in Australia to halt payments to scammers.  

The bank-funded Australian Financial Crimes Exchange launched a secure communication platform that provides near real-time fraud reporting, shared intelligence, and the ability to halt transactions for member banks.   

Previously, communication between banks would largely take place over phone calls and email. 

The FRX endeavors to stop fraud by allowing banks to better share information about potential bad actors and interrupt multiple transactions taking place as part of the same scam.  

This new platform is particularly crucial for mitigating APP fraud, where banks often deny culpability for refunds since victims authorize payments themselves. As consumer protection advocates turn up the heat on banks to provide reimbursements to victims of these scams, the platform aims to prevent people from losing money in the first place.

The FRX is a “world-leading initiative” and “means more and more scammers are going to hit a brick wall,” according to Australian Banking Association CEO Anna Bligh.  

In a trial of the platform, the time to resolve most scam cases dropped by more than half.  

In the United States, regulators have also ramped up pressure on banks to add protections and grant reimbursement for APP victims. Banks, in turn, have increased their customer education and have experimented with biometric technology. Australia’s new system models preliminarily effective another strategy. 


Truist just launched a gamified savings app to encourage healthy financial habits and keep clients engaged with the bank.  

Truist’s new app has benefits for both itself and for consumers: It keeps a loyal audience logging in regularly while helping that group earn rewards and build savings. 

Truist’s innovation studio, Foundry, just released a mobile app called Long Game that rewards users for building healthy financial habits through prizes and education.  

“The ultimate goal is creating digital experiences that are fun and engaging, that make people love Truist and increase their financial wellness,” according to Linsday Holden, head of Foundry. The app’s trivia and savings challenges are targeted at people who are relatively early in their financial education journeys.

The game gives Truist, the 7th largest bank in the US by total assets, a new way to keep its clients engaged at a time when digital banks are using higher interest rates to lure depositors.  

Ultimately, interactive financial literacy tools helps FinServs form stronger bonds with their clients, especially younger users whose loyalty they crave and who benefit the most from boosting their money knowledge. For example, Morgan Stanley is leaning on an education suite from fintech Greenlight while TD Bank has a virtual stock market game and a resource hub for kids called the Wow! Zone

Quick Bits:

Personnel news: US Bank just named former Fiserv exec William Flyge as its new head of global banks. In impending people moves, Ken Jacobs is preparing to step down as CEO of Lazard, with financial chief Peter Orszag likely taking his place, while Morgan Stanley CEO James Gorman is preparing to leave within the next year, and has lined up three potential successors from within the bank

We also have new data on the demand for execs focused on environmental, social, and governance issues: US-based bankers and money managers with job titles that include “ESG” or “sustainability” earn an average of 20% higher base salaries than colleagues of the same seniority without those labels.   

Money moves: It’s been a big week for acquisitions: Fifth Third just acquired embedded payments platform Rize Money, Mizuho Financial bought boutique advisor Greenhill, and crypto firm Ripple purchased digital asset custody firm Metaco.

Meanwhile, JPMorgan’s healthcare-focused division just invested $25 million in fertility clinic network Kindbody, while MetLife and Japanese insurance giant Tokio Marine just contributed to a massive $196 million funding round for embedded insurance firm Bolttech.  

Success stories: Fidelity Labs-incubated Safir is the “grammar check” for compliance teams that helps get “content out to market five to 10 times faster.” Meanwhile, a Japanese entrepreneur created an AI algorithm that speeds up M&A by automatically matchmaking buyers and sellers, and Bank of America just launched a fintech accelerator targeted at underrepresented communities. 


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