Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan touched on blockchain technology during a speech in New York today, citing the innovation as an example of how his company is becoming more attuned to disruptive forces in finance.
Speaking at the 2015 Banking and Financial Services Conference, Moynihan addressed the subject during a question-and-answer session in which he was asked about the potential for financial services to be disrupted by new technologies in a similar manner as brick-and-mortar retailers.
Moynihan remarked that he intends to foster a culture of innovation at Bank of America in order to guard against this risk to its business, going on to say:
“The question is a cultural one, of keeping your company always pressing and learning and being curious. [It’s] learning from all these companies what’s going on and why, what blockchain means versus what bitcoin meant, what the aggregators and other types of people are doing in wealth management management [with] robo-advisers.”
Though long one of the less vocal financial firms on the subject of bitcoin or the blockchain, Bank of America announced in September it had partnered with distributed ledger startup R3 to explore enterprise use cases for the technology.
As such, Moynihan went on to caution that he believes the company must be on the lookout for change, but that market observers may overestimate the pace of these transitions.
“We have to keep challenging ourselves and learn from those industries that made the mistake of being complacent,” he continued.
Elsewhere, he discussed the need to reduce costs through automation and about the power of mobile technology, which he said has changed how bank customers want to be served.
Still, he voiced his opinion that the best thing thing for Bank of America to do was to learn from new entrants into the financial services market, adding:
“There’s a ton of people trying to disrupt our industry. They’re exciting, interesting companies and we try to learn from them.”