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Banking in the age of generative AI

5-minute read

February 28, 2024

In brief

  • In under a year, banking has gone from wondering whether generative AI is ready for prime time to scaling use cases and capturing value.
  • Our analysis indicates that—due to the importance of language throughout the value chain—the industry has significant potential to benefit from the technology.
  • Accenture identifies five imperatives that banks should address to reinvent in the age of generative AI.

Not a matter of if, but how and how far

When ChatGPT launched to the public in late 2022, many wondered if generative AI was a fad or a genuinely transformative phenomenon. One year later, banking has moved from the question of whether the technology will change banking to where we should start and what the ultimate impact will be.

Generative AI is not going to rewrite the fundamental business of banking. But it is going to change how that business gets done.

22% - 30%

potential productivity improvement for early adopters over the next three years, according to our latest financial projections

600 bps

rise in revenue growth

300 bps

increase in return on equity

The new nature of work

Accenture’s analysis of the potential use of the technology across different banking roles suggests this is only the beginning.

We concluded that 73% of the time spent by US bank employees has a high potential to be impacted by generative AI—39% by automation and 34% by augmentation. Its potential reaches virtually every part of a bank, from the C-suite to the front lines of service and in every part of the value chain. But the impact will not be uniform.


Automation-driven roles

In our analysis of US banks, we discovered that occupations representing 41% of banking employees are engaged in tasks with higher potential for automation. Roles such as tellers, whose jobs primarily involve collecting and processing data, would benefit greatly from automation—60% of their routine tasks could be supported by generative AI.

Augmentation-driven roles

Employees whose work involves a high measure of judgment, such as credit analysts, or who need to understand customers’ needs and circumstances and personalize their interactions, such as relationship managers, could be empowered by generative AI tools that help them prepare for and run meetings—34% of banking employees fall into this category.

All-round support

We determined that 25% of all employees will be similarly impacted by both automation and augmentation. Customer service agents, who spend their time explaining products and services to customers, responding to inquiries, preparing documentation and maintaining sales and other records, are a good example. Of these tasks, 37% could be automated while 28% could be augmented.

Most generative AI use cases for both augmenting and automating work in banking fall into one of three categories:

  1. Generative AI can be embedded within operations and existing tools and applications to supercharge employee productivity.

  2. It can transform mid- and back-office operations by automating tedious, routine work. This will lower operating costs and free up employees for higher-value work.

  3. It also offers new ways to innovate and differentiate. In a world of relatively homogenous digital banking experiences, it enables new ways for banks to personalize experiences, stand out in the marketplace, and boost revenue.

Driving continuous reinvention

The pervasive reach of generative AI means it won’t exclusively or even primarily be a cost-saving technology, in banking its most important contribution will be to drive growth.

The challenge is to balance reinvention with the ongoing operation of the bank, maximizing the opportunities while limiting the disruption. To accomplish this will require not only execution excellence but also a culture of innovation, a core value of which will be curiosity.

Tremendous change at tremendous speed

Few technologies have moved from theoretical potential to game-changing impact as quickly as generative AI. In two months, for example, ChatGPT hit 100 million active monthly users. It took Facebook about 4.5 years to reach that mark. The technology is already changing work every day for most employees at most banks.

Unlike the digital revolution or the advent of the smartphone, banks won’t be able to cordon off generative AI’s impact on their organization in the early days of change. It touches almost every job in banking—which means that now is the time to use this powerful new tool to build new performance frontiers.


Keri Smith

Managing Director – Global Banking Data & Al Lead

Michael Abbott

Senior Managing Director – Global Banking Lead