PLAN 71: Article
Rethinking Banking For The Twenty-First Century

A New Research Center at the Media Lab

MIT's Media Laboratory has joined with Bank of America to create the Center for Future Banking, a five-year collaboration to which Bank of America has committed $3M - $5M per year. Housed at the Media Lab, the new research center will seek to transform the ways that banking will be conducted in a world of rapidly changing social, economic and information landscapes.

Researchers at the center, in collaboration with Bank of America, will be looking to rethink the experience of customer-bank interaction and to invent new ways to put every customer in total control of his or her own financial future. The research will span a wide range of physical and social scales, from one-on-one interactions with customers to new modes of global transactions.

The Center's founding director and principal investigator is AT&T Associate Professor Deb Roy, chair of SA+P's academic program in Media Arts and Sciences and a pioneer in cognitive modeling, communication theory and human-machine interaction. He will be joined by a multidisciplinary team of researchers and students with radically different perspectives and a passion for invention – including behavioral economists, social scientists, computer scientists, psychologists and designers – in order to take a truly holistic approach to imagining and realizing new possibilities. The team will not only develop new ideas for the banking industry, but will also build and test working prototypes. 'It's a recipe,' says Roy, 'for producing unexpected new ideas that will trigger significant innovations in the world of banking.'

According to Media Lab Director Frank Moss, the Center for Future Banking represents a powerful new model by which academia and business will partner to invent the future of whole industries: 'We are bringing together the creative, multidisciplinary research of Media Lab faculty and students with the real-world business experience and deep-domain knowledge of our Bank of America colleagues – all in a highly innovative environment that promotes unconventional thinking and risk-taking. In doing so, we hope not only to discover the principles that will transform banking in the next decade, but also to advance our basic understanding of the rapidly changing relationship between people, technology and society in the twenty-first century.'

Bank of America has long been recognized as a leader in creating innovative products and solutions for customers, such as its award-winning online banking, mobile banking and Keep the Change savings program. It is one of the world's largest financial institutions, serving individual consumers, small and middle market businesses, and large corporations with a full range of banking, investing, asset management and other financial and risk-management products and services.

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Posted September 2008