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MIT Media Lab and Bank of America announce Center for Future Banking

Collaboration to create an innovative engine for consumer banking solutions
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Alexandra Kahn
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MIT Media Lab
Diane Wagner
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Bank of America

The MIT Media Laboratory and Bank of America today announced the creation of the Center for Future Banking, a five-year collaboration to which Bank of America has committed $3-5 million annually.

"Bank of America is investing in the future of banking. Working with the MIT Media Lab provides a unique opportunity to grow banking in innovative ways that respond to evolving customer behavior, preferences, and trends," said Anne Finucane, Chief Marketing Officer, Bank of America.

The new research center, which will be located at the Media Lab on the MIT campus, will serve as an innovation engine that will seek to transform the ways banking will be conducted in a world of rapidly changing social, economic, and information landscapes.

The Center will explore new ideas in banking by inventing technologies that reveal and leverage insights across a wide range of physical and social scales, from one-on-one customer interactions to global transactions. Researchers will address such questions as: "How can every customer be empowered with the knowledge and tools to take better control of their financial futures?" "How will banking interactions evolve as a customer's physical and virtual worlds become completely intertwined?" and "How will social networks and mobile platforms transform customers' banking experiences, making it easier, more convenient, and better integrated with their daily lives?".

Frank Moss, Director of the Media Lab and holder of the Jerome Wiesner Professorship of Media Arts and Sciences, believes the Center for Future Banking represents a powerful new model by which academia and business will partner to invent the future of entire industries. According to Moss, "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 our award-winning online banking, mobile banking, and Keep the Change savings program," said Susan Faulkner, Deposits & Student Lending Executive, Bank of America. "We believe that the results of this collaboration will have long-range significance to change the face of banking as our customers know it."

Professor Deb Roy, Chair of MIT's academic program in Media Arts and Sciences and a pioneer in cognitive modeling, communication theory, and human-machine interaction, will serve as the Center's Founding Director and Principal Investigator. "The Center sets the stage for potentially path-breaking research that will tap into core Media Lab capabilities and extend them in exciting new directions," says Roy. "We will create a focus of intellectual energy that brings together researchers with radically different perspectives, including behavioral economists, social scientists, computer scientists, psychologists, designers, and others who share a passion for invention. It's a recipe for producing unexpected new ideas that will trigger significant innovations in the world of banking."

About the MIT Media Lab

The MIT Media Lab applies an unorthodox research approach to envision the impact of emerging technologies on everyday life-technologies that promise to fundamentally transform our most basic notions of human capabilities. Unconstrained by traditional disciplines, Lab designers, engineers, artists, and scientists work atelier-style in some 30 research groups conducting more than 400 projects that range from neuroengineering, to how children learn, to developing the city car of the future. Lab researchers foster a unique culture of learning by doing, developing technologies that empower people of all ages, from all walks of life, in all societies, to design and invent new possibilities for themselves and their communities.
More information about the MIT Media Lab may be found at
More information on the Center for Future Banking may be found at

About Bank of America (NYSE: BAC)

Bank of America 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. In the United States, the company serves more than 59 million consumer and small business relationships with more than 6,100 retail banking offices, nearly 19,000 ATMs, and award-winning online banking with nearly 24 million active users. Bank of America is the No. 1 overall Small Business Administration (SBA) lender in the United States and the No. 1 SBA lender to minority-owned small businesses. The company serves clients in 175 countries and has relationships with 99 percent of the U.S. Fortune 500 companies and 83 percent of the Fortune Global 500. Member FDIC.
More information about Bank of America may be found at

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on April 2, 2008 (download PDF).

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