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Bank of America earns most patents in its history in 2020 with a focus on AI and security


Features that UK:US digital vs traditional bankers would like banks to offer

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Bank of America announced that it secured a record 444 patents from the US Patent Office, beating the 418 it earned in 2019 and lagging only Capital One among financial institutions, for the second year in a row, according to the Intellectual Property Owners Association. BofA’s patent portfolio now consists of over 4,400 patents and applications.

The bank has focused its patent efforts on AI as well as security and privacy initiatives over the past year, representing the top two patent categories. Insider Intelligence listed a few examples of how the bank is implementing these technologies:

AI and machine learning (ML) patents encompassed 19% of BofA’s applications in 2020. The bank currently has 502 issued patents for online and mobile banking, several of which help power Erica, BofA’s AI virtual assistant. For example, one uses ML to analyze intent in client requests to provide better customer insights. Erica’s usage has surged amid the pandemic, reaching 17.2 million users in Q4 2020, up 67% year over year (YoY). This concentration in AI and ML patents indicates the bank sees continued importance in the technology’s consumer and corporate applications and likely plans to broaden its capabilities in the future.
Twenty percent of the bank’s patent applications in 2020 were related to security and privacy technology. BofA cited biometrics as a key theme of its patent applications for last year: Biometric authentication is one of the leading features customers would like their banks to have, and financial institutions have sought to meet demand through the introduction of options such as voice, fingerprint, or facial recognition. The bank’s focus on security and privacy patents may come in response to the proliferation of personally identifiable information being shared and accessed across the globe. Its ever-expanding data repository necessitates technology and processes that enhance information transparency and security.

BofA’s new patent applications suggest it’s making data a top priority in 2021 and beyond—a strategy that further empowers clients, but also leaves them open to new risks. Almost 40% of the patents the bank applied for in 2020 were centered around technologies grounded in data analysis and protection.

Features like Erica or biometric ID solutions create a better and more insightful user experience, but their effectiveness hinges upon compiling increasing amounts of information. High-profile data breaches, such as Capital One’s 2019 incident, show just how fragile customer data can be.

That means banks need to focus just as many—if not more—resources on protecting that data, which BofA appears to have recognized: Its total patent portfolio includes 724 issued and pending applications for information security.

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Source:: Business Insider

      

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