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RBC is using video conferencing to bring the human touch back to banking

March 31, 2017 | Telepresence Options

MyAdvisor.jpg

Story and images by Tearsheet

  • The Royal Bank of Canada is piloting MyAdvisor, a feature that allows customers to connect to a financial adviser through video conference.
  • MyAdvisor could be a sign of an emerging consensus that digital banking may always require some form of human connection.

With talk of intelligent machines making the banking experience less personal, at least one major institution is taking a turn in the other direction by letting customers video conference with real people.

The Royal Bank of Canada, Canada's largest bank, launched its MyAdvisor pilot this week -- a feature that lets customers schedule video conferences with financial advisors. The bank said it's making the move because talking to a real person still matters for their customers. "Clients told us that when it comes to investing, trust is key," said Michael Walker, vp and head of mutual funds distribution and financial planning at RBC. "For most clients, they build trust with human beings first -- not just technology."

For now, MyAdvisor will be invite-only to a group of 500 customers in Ontario, but the bank plans to roll out the service across Canada by July. RBC is currently focusing on investment advice, but Walker said it plans to roll out video conferencing for other services as well. During a video conference, the customer and investment adviser can review the customer's portfolio together and assess progress towards financial goals -- mimicking an in-branch experience.

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