RBC launches AI-powered cashflow prediction tool

As more Canadians shift to online banking, Royal Bank of Canada continues to expand its digital capabilities by offering customers insight into their money in addition to enhanced security measures.

NOMI Forecast is the newest capability in the bank’s artificial intelligence (AI)-powered virtual assistant, called NOMI. The recently launched functionality gives customers a seven-day view into their future cash flow by forecasting upcoming preauthorized payments that will soon be withdrawn from their accounts.

“What we’re focusing on right now with NOMI Forecast is the ability to actually provide a view to our clients of all those invisible transactions that come out of your account automatically,” RBC senior director of digital Benoit Germain told Bank Automation News. “Anything from your insurance payments, your phone bill to your condo fees and so on. And it was kind of our first step to provide that visibility for our clients to be able to better manage that.”

The $1.3 trillion Toronto-based RBC launched NOMI in 2017 as a virtual assistant for banking customers after partnering with conversational AI firm Personetics Technologies, which also works with U.S. Bank and Ally Bank. That same year, RBC released NOMI Find & Save using predictive technology to automatically find extra money in customers’ cash flow and move it into savings. The bank has since built its own functionality on top of Personetics’ technology. NOMI Budgets followed in 2019 to help customers control their finances and in 2020 Ask NOMI was launched to answer customer questions around spending. NOMI has about 1.5 million active users, according to RBC.

Given the complexity of NOMI, it was not possible to run it on central processing unit (CPU)-only traditional infrastructure, which would have resulted in a slow response time. NOMI is RBC’s first use of Borealis AI’s OpenShift graphics processing unit (GPU) cluster, meant to accelerate the AI technology. Borealis AI — RBC’s research institute — abstracts the complexities of running models and provides the forecast results to the bank’s backend system through standard APIs.

Two-step authentication boosts security

Meanwhile, the bank also launched a two-step verification process for added protection within the RBC mobile app.

The tool allows customers to assign their mobile device as the primary access channel for their accounts. When they log into their account from another device, customers receive a prompt within the app to verify the session. Included in that notification is the date and time of the login attempt. Because the verification process is completed within the app, clients do not need a security code delivered via email or text message. Instead, they press a button to proceed to banking, reducing the possibility of information compromise or unauthorized access to their accounts.

Other security features offered in the RBC mobile app include ID verification, card lock, two-way fraud alerts and fraud monitoring, in addition to the bank’s digital banking security guarantee.

“Digital adoption keeps on growing at an extremely fast pace, especially when it comes to our mobile app,” Germain said. “When it comes to NOMI, we are having massive adoption. We have over 2 million personalized budgets that have been set. Our clients have consumed over 2 billion personalized insights. So, what we’re always looking to do is to continuously look at what else can we do to add to the trust and add more value to our clients.”

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