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Meet Jude, your future private banker

Passion project to fintech startup

Jude founder Ben Lynch shares his vision for an enhanced customer experience in retail banking.

When Lynch quit his job as a software architect at Xero, it was to concentrate on growing and building Jude, a bot that acts as a personal financial assistant. From a simple idea to explore the best possible banking experience, Jude grew into a product that reimagines the way we interact with our banks on a day to day basis. “Banks will be the first to acknowledge they can do a lot better on the customer experience side,” Lynch says, having created Jude in the first instance to keep an eye on his bank account as he grew frustrated with some of the limitations of retail banking.

Who is Jude?

Not dissimilar to Amazon’s Alexa, Jude is an artificially intelligent assistant. When connected to a bank account, voice control allows users to ask Jude to do anything from providing account balances to transferring funds from one account to another. But what Lynch is hoping to develop is a product with far more sophisticated functions and one that can be accessed from anywhere at anytime. For instance, someone on Messenger could write to Jude asking for their energy bill to be paid, without leaving the application. Lynch believes, “You don’t need to build the interface all the time anymore. You just need to go where the people already are and let them choose.”

You don’t need to build the interface all the time anymore. You just need to go where the people already are and let them choose

Tech is the future of finance

“I think [the future banking experience] will be drastically different to how people currently engage with their bank, finance or money,” he says, mentioning the rise of contextual commerce as an example. As a long-term goal, Lynch sees Jude as a platform that links businesses to banks and allows them to create an engaging experience with customers –  and a more personalised and customised relationship with the places where they spend their money. Arguably, Lynch says, a bank could build this for their customers. However, “It would be very hard for a bank to do the whole merchant side of the piece, to do the integration and to talk to the merchants. That’s where we see we can build something that is defendable and that is bringing both sides to the table.”

Customer-centric banking?

Until now, Lynch thinks there hasn’t been much of an incentive for banks to enhance their customer experience, particularly in Australia and New Zealand where there isn’t much competition. But this could be set to change as banks around the world, including Australia, are increasingly being asked to share their data via APIs. Jude is still in development stage, but Lynch is hopeful he will soon be able to partner with banks and get the collaborative process rolling. At the end of the day, Lynch sees personalisation as the compelling reason he believes Jude will succeed. “It’s about what’s best for the customer,” he says.

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Caroline Faucher
Caroline is a Canadian-Australian writer and online communication strategist with over 10 years experience in media, not-for-profits and government. Now based in the seaside city of Newcastle, she enjoys the variety of topics a freelance life offers and the challenge of turning complex ideas into simple messages.