Most American retail banks are designed the same way: Customers must pass several desks set aside for loan and mortgage officers before they can talk to a customer representative.
I only step inside a bank a few times each year, but even pre-pandemic, I can't remember the last time I saw someone sitting at one of those desks. Everyone I know who's obtained a home or business loan in the recent past started with an online application process.
For this morning's column, Alex Wilhelm interviewed Dave Girouard, CEO of Upstart, an AI-powered fintech lender that expects to see growth increase 114% this year.
A forecast like that suggests that retail banks have gotten comfortable with using automated tools to calculate risk, which may help explain all the empty desks at my local branch.
“If Upstart hits its 2021 numbers, we will be able to read into them broader adoption of AI among old-guard firms,” says Alex.
According to PitchBook, investors are also more bullish on AI: Q4 2020 saw record funding for AI and ML startups, and exit totals are increasing as well.
I wouldn't mind adding a gently used desk to my home office; perhaps I should call my bank and see if they have one to spare.
Thanks very much for reading Extra Crunch. Have a great weekend!
Senior Editor, TechCrunch
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