Financial Chatbot Abe Enables Holistic Money Management with Envestnet | Yodlee API

Imagine being able to contact a digital financial advisor, ask straightforward questions, and get instant answers at any time of day. This advisor can view your entire financial picture — all your financial accounts, bills, and payments — and let you know whether you can afford a particular purchase or not.

That’s Abe, the financial chatbot for your money, which is available on Slack and SMS messaging. Abe helps users navigate the challenges of day-to-day money management by tracking their cash flow and coaching them on exactly how much they can spend to achieve their savings goals.

To sign up with Abe, users first securely connect their various financial accounts through the Envestnet | Yodlee Aggregation API. Afterwards, they can ask financial questions and receive proactive advice through Slack and SMS messaging. Abe utilizes the fully RESTful Envestnet | Yodlee Aggregation API, which allows us to innovate at a much faster pace.

We built Abe because we weren’t convinced financial education alone was the best way to develop better financial habits. We support financial education, but we wanted to take a more proactive approach, so we built Abe to directly engage and assist users. Abe acts as a digital financial coach, providing users straightforward advice and directives to help them make better financial decisions.

We first launched Abe to the public in May 2016 on Slack, the chat platform for enterprise teams. We understand that financial stress is a drain on workplace productivity, so we launched Abe on Slack to help employees manage their finances quickly and easily at work. Since then we’ve expanded to other platforms, including SMS messaging, the most frequently used smartphone chat platform. We’re soon launching on Facebook Messenger and Amazon Alexa, and we’re participating in the Google Home beta program.

In order to provide effective financial coaching, we need a holistic view of our users’ financial standing. During the onboarding process, the Envestnet | Yodlee platform provides secure connections to numerous financial institutions, enabling users to quickly connect all their accounts. We partnered with Envestnet | Yodlee because they are the only platform that allows us to securely access over 16,000 data sources – including student loans, checking and savings accounts, investments, and 401(k) plans. No other data aggregation provider offers the breadth and depth of data we need to provide users a 360-degree view of their finances. By offering users aggregation of all their financial accounts, Abe provides users their full financial picture for the most accurate and effective financial coaching.

Once a user is connected with Abe, we run a series of statistical and machine learning algorithms to identify recurring transactions (not just fixed expenses like a monthly Spotify subscription). These predictions help us communicate how much cash a user has to work with over a given period of time. Our smart learning algorithms are radically different than other PFM solutions, which require users to create their own goals and categories and constantly review how each expense is tagged. By automating the budget-planning process, we’re providing users a truly friction-free financial planning service.

Now that we’ve trained our algorithms, strengthened the classifications of financial categories, and refined our user experience, we’re taking steps to make Abe accessible to progressive, pro-consumer community banks who want to offer this technology to their customers. Large banks are already launching their own financial chatbots, and we see digital financial assistants as the next evolution of retail banking. AI-powered chatbots help community banks offer a personalized banking touch; we’re empowering them to once again have real-time conversations with their customers, and we’re using technology to do it at scale. Plus, our solution is cloud-based, so we eliminate the need for banks to build and maintain their own internal API. Our rapid deployment process helps our customers get to market faster than anyone else.

To spread the word about the conversational banking revolution, we’re hosting our first webinar, Five Reasons Your Bank Needs a Bot, on Tuesday, December 6th at 1:00 PM EST. I’ll sit down with guests JP Nichols, Managing Director of FinTech Forge, and Ben Brown, co-founder of Howdy.ai and Talkabot, to discuss the evolution of digital banking and the new wave of AI-powered assistants who can think and act for the user. We’ll also discuss how financial chatbots and natural language processing can be leveraged by small banks to re-introduce a more personalized banking experience to their customers.

To learn more about how Envestnet | Yodlee enables companies like Abe to build innovative financial applications, please visit our developer portal at www.developer.yodlee.com.