CIBC introduces AI-powered Insights tool amid digital banking spike in Canada


  • CIBC's new Insights tool offers AI-driven money management recommendations.
  • But it might need to get creative, as many of its competitors have already debuted similar features. 
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The major Canadian bank's new AI- and machine learning-driven mobile banking app feature gives customers actionable, personalized recommendations for better spending decisions.

Insights analyzes customers' debit and credit card transactions and identifies discrepancies from usual spending patterns. It also offers guidance based on spending history, including reminders to put extra funds into savings, or prompts to set spending limits for different categories or merchants at which a user spends frequently.

CIBC does not expect customers who switched to digital banking amid the pandemic to return to branches—which is likely informing its tech investment strategy. 

The bank has prioritized investments in two main areas: mobile banking and automation. In regard to the former, CIBC's consumer mobile banking experience is currently ranked the best in Canada by J.D. Power and Forrester. The debut of Insights suggests CIBC is dedicated to further iterating on its mobile experience.

AI-powered tools can help CIBC deepen customer engagement through personalization—but it might need to further differentiate its product, which is becoming commonplace.

  • Real-time analysis of spending habits can allow banks to deliver personalized insights with timely information that could encourage customers to improve their financial health. And these insights could be more engaging than generic advice or money management prompts. Debt repayment was the top financial priority for Canadians in 2020, so more effectively encouraging customers to stay on budget and reach financial goals could ultimately spur loyalty for CIBC. And because CIBC Insights comes as the pandemic is accelerating digital banking penetration in Canada, it could be reaching a particularly receptive audience.
  • But CIBC faces tough competition, as AI solutions have also been a popular area of investment for its main competitors. Canada's largest banks spent around CA$90 billion ($67.8 billion) on technology upgrades between 2009 and 2018. And AI solutions to improve the customer experience were a big part of their investments prior to the pandemic to deepen relationships with clients. Competing incumbent banks RBCBMO, and TD have all debuted their own versions of AI-powered money management solutions. As these tools become more commonly offered in Canada, CIBC might have to add further capabilities to Insights so that it becomes a differentiator for its mobile banking app.