SigFig launches platform to help retail banks sell financial products

The tool is part of a growing trend of banks turning to fintech for cross-selling opportunities

Mar 27, 2019 @ 6:00 am

By Ryan W. Neal

SigFig, the financial technology firm that developed digital advice platforms for several large financial institutions, wants to help banks automate more than investment management.

SigFig Atlas is billed as a "financial advice and software-guided sales platform" for banks. Accessible either in a branch office or online, SigFig Atlas will assess a customer's financial needs, then use algorithms to determine which of a bank's products or services would work best. Beyond robo-advice, Atlas can also recommend checking and savings accounts, loans, mortgages or any other bank products.

SigFig CEO and co-founder Mike Sha said Atlas solves two problems. First, it provides an easier and more comfortable way for prospective clients to share personal financial details necessary to offer accurate advice or recommendations. He compares the process to a doctor offering first-time patients a clipboard to share their medical history, rather than asking in person.

"There's a social pressure to give the right answer as opposed to the truthful answer," Mr. Sha said. "[Atlas] takes out that personal and difficult element of gathering some of the basic facts and information."

For banks, it helps provide more consistency across the thousands of employees working in branch offices.

"Make sure they are giving good, personalized advice and delivering that through the right person," Mr. Sha said.

Providing personalized advice that was previously difficult to offer will boost customer satisfaction and loyalty, he added.

The company has built retail-facing digital advice platforms for banks like Wells Fargo, UBS and Citizens Bank. In October, SigFig introduced CoPilot, a for-advisers wealth management platform. This experience helped refine Atlas into a product that banks can implement quickly and easily, without little to no effort on integration.

"After years of working closely with our banking partners, we found an opportunity to take our experience in innovation and customer experience and apply it to solve other needs of banks and their customers," Mr. Sha said in a statement. Removing the integration process will also help SigFig expand its products to smaller banks.

Banks have been increasing their investment in technology as an way to cross-sell across business verticals. With low-cost financial advice, banks can form early relationships between their wealth management businesses and mass-affluent, mass-market clients on the bank side.

At the same time, fintech startups are looking to expand their offering by offering banking products. Wealthfront now offers high-yield, FDIC-insured savings cash savings accounts, and brokerage app Robinhood is offering checking and savings services in the form of low-risk brokerage accounts.

Instead of cross-selling, Mr. Sha calls this a "more integrated experience for customers."

"Today, if you use three or four products, you regularly get treated as three or four different customers," he said. "There is a lot of opportunity to create a one-customer mindset."

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