Sneak peek at Wells Fargo's forthcoming mobile app – American Banker
Wells Fargo CEO Charlie Scharf hinted during the company’s recent earnings call of plans to roll out a new consumer mobile app at the beginning of next year.
“We’re executing on our work to simplify our products and build compelling offerings tailored to different customer segments,” he said.
Michelle Moore, who was the leader behind the development of Bank of America’s virtual assistant Erica and has been Wells Fargo’s head of consumer digital since December 2020, is overseeing the creation of the new Wells Fargo app and of a new digital assistant called Fargo. She will also be speaking at American Banker’s virtual Digital Banking conference, which will be held Nov. 16-19.
In an interview, Moore shared some of the direction she is giving the teams developing both technologies, which are due to go live sometime next year.
What do you want to change about Wells Fargo’s existing app and what’s on your wish list for the new app?
MICHELLE MOORE: I spend a lot of time studying the voice of the customer, as that’s my MO. I like to look at customer behavior patterns. What are they doing? How are they interacting with us at Wells Fargo? We knew we had a lot of opportunity to improve upon the app and basically rebuild it.
We had to get it right, from the sign-in screen to the account summaries to detailed transaction information to their ability to move money and payments, explore products and services, and start an application. And all of that is in our current app, but our clients told us that it was not intuitive, things were not easy to find. We took that to heart. The information architecture needed to be updated in a way that made intuitive sense. The design has to be obviously appealing, easy to use and simple.
As you rebuild sign-in, account summaries, transaction information and the way people explore products and services, do you plan to change the way these things look or improve the ease of getting to them?
All the above. It should be appealing to the eye, but also [appealing] when you peel back the layers. For example, today in the mobile app, payments are in multiple different places. The way you get there is not always intuitive. When customers are moving money, whether they’re transferring money between accounts, paying bills [or] using Zelle, all of that should be in one place. So on the bottom navigation bar, we will have a payments hub that can be configurable and customized by clients based on how they interact. So if using Zelle is the thing that they do the most, then they can choose to put it wherever they want in the payments hub.
Can you give me a sense of the team you have working on this, for instance the size of the team, and are you bringing anybody in from the outside to help, or hiring people to help with this?
It’s a combination of all those. We don’t disclose the numbers, but it was a combination of internal and external. We brought in talent, we moved talent around. We really wanted to make sure we had diversity of thought and perspective around the app.
What is the total timeline? I know you’re planning to launch this in early 2022. How long have you been working on this?
I started at the beginning of the year and it will continue throughout 2022. We have a lot of rebuilding to do. There’s a lot to managing an app of our size and all of the pages that need to be updated, but it’s kind of the 80/20 rule. We’re working on the top 20% of the app that does 80% of the volume. As the year progresses, we’ll get to the rest of it.
What are some of your goals for the new app? Do you want it to attract new people to the bank? Do you want your existing customers to use the app more?
Wells Fargo has 27 million mobile app users. First and foremost, we want to attract significantly more of our existing customer base to the mobile app. [The bank declined to share its total number of consumer customers.] So we’ll spend a lot of time driving awareness when we launch the rebuilt app at the beginning of the year. I want the app to enable our clients the way other apps do outside of financial services. They probably have Amazon, Starbucks, Facebook and Lowe’s on their phone. We have to compete with their last best experience.