Bank of America dominates digital banking, no matter how you count it.
The bank now has 66 million consumer customers that interact with it 10 billion times a year. Ninety-seven percent of those interactions are digital — mobile, online or through interactive voice reponse.
That customer figure includes 19 million mobile banking logins and 5 million online banking logins a day. The bank has 30.4 million mobile banking users. Its artificial-intelligence-based virtual assistant Erica has 15 million users who use it a combined 12 million times per month.
Erica’s user base alone is “bigger than many of those headline-grabbing fintechs,” said David Tyrie, Bank of America’s head of digital, financial center strategy and advanced client solutions. The largest challenger bank, Chime, has 8 million users, he pointed out.
“[BofA officials] have poured a ton of money and resources into Erica, and it seems to be paying off,” said Stephen Greer, senior analyst at Celent.
In July, the bank had 11.7 million people using its version of Zelle, the person-to-person payments service managed by Early Warning and owned by a consortium of banks.
Bank of America has more retail deposits in the United States than any other bank: $980 billion. Its closest competitor, Wells Fargo, has $857.9 billion. (Neither attempt to price deposits attractively — Bank of America’s basic savings account, Advantage Savings, and Wells Fargo’s Way2Save both pay a 0.1% annual percentage rate.)
There are a few ways to look at Bank of America’s digital dominance. One could argue that it naturally follows the bank’s size. Its 4,300 branches make it accessible, and consumers traditionally have made decisions about where to bank based on whether there’s a branch nearby, Greer said. Bank of America has also acquired deposits through its mergers with other banks over the years.
“When you’re the biggest, certainly inertia is a large part of that,” said Emmett Higdon, digital banking director at Javelin Strategy & Research. “I don’t think you can point to digital enhancements and say they have played a huge role here.”
But the bank’s drive toward continuous improvement of its digital channels is also a factor.
Its focus on making account opening easier, for instance, has surely been helpful, Higdon said. Bank of America has good customer support around digital account opening, he said.
“Anything that can make it easier to do business with the bank is certainly going to contribute to growing your deposit base,” Higdon said. “That’s what makes them such a difficult competitor — their size to begin with, but then they simply don’t sit still. There’s very little time for their competitors to catch their breath or to catch up when they continue to push things forward.”
“They’ve always been at the forefront,” Greer said. “In the arms race for…