BB&T, a US-based bank holding company, has decided to set aside $50m to invest in or buy emerging digital technology firms as part of its strategy to boost its competitive profile and trim operational expenses.

The creation of fintech investment fund follows BB&T chairman and CEO Kelly King announcement in October 2017 that the bank is looking to acquire fintech firms to speed up its digital operations.

King said: “This sizable investment in financial technology companies represents an important strategic milestone in our digital business transformation.

“We’re excited about the possibility of new partnerships and innovative approaches to provide the best possible experience for our clients.”

With the executive management appointment of W Bennett Bradley as chief digital officer, BB&T’s digital business transformation formally started 2015. After that, the bank rolled out new tools and platforms for retail and commercial clients.

Bradley said: “A significant investment in fintech puts BB&T on an aggressive pace to more quickly navigate our digital road map and further foster a culture of innovation throughout the company.

“Things are changing rapidly and we, like many financial institutions, have to move faster to meet and exceed our clients’ expectations. While an investment in fintech is just one component of our digital transformation, it’s a powerful way for us to gain greater access to new technologies and talent.”