Cool career: Inventor Jinna Kim protects your bank account and you don’t even know it

Cool career: Inventor Jinna Kim protects your bank account and you don’t even know it

Photo Illustration: Axios Visuals. Photos: Bank of America, Chris Keane (Bloomberg) / Getty Images

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Jinna Kim is an inventor at Bank of America who helped drive a record-breaking year for innovation in the company in 2020. She’s also classically trained in the violin and viola.

She wanders between the technology world and the arts world effortlessly. In fact, she talks about them as if they play off of each other, as if one supports the other.

“Everyone has the potential to become an inventor,” she says. “If you’ve ever seen a need or found a problem, you can be an inventor.”

We’d like to occasionally highlight people doing big work in lesser-known jobs (I didn’t know banks had inventors, for instance) that make Charlotte a more interesting place.


So come along and meet Jinna Kim:

Background: Kim was born in Korea and immigrated to the U.S. with her family in 1984 when she was 3. She worked at the Museum of Modern Art in New York before earning her MBA and moving to Charlotte in 2011.

Thoughts on Charlotte: “Charlotte to me keeps improving upon itself, very similar to how I try to improve on these ideas that I have.”

What she’s made: One of her 17 patents is an artificial intelligence system that helps client service reps gather customer information to guide them toward financial goals.

  • During big-purchase holidays, she works behind the scenes to make sure customers don’t get defrauded, but also that they don’t get flagged for simply buying out-of-routine gifts.

  • In other words, she made sure the bank didn’t spoil the surprise when you bought those diamonds for your Valentine.

How does one … invent things? Some of the best ideas come through conversation and life experiences, she says. “You don’t think, ‘Well, 10% of my time is for innovation,’” she says.
  • Of note: Bank of America was granted 444 patents in 2020, a record year for the company.

Fun fact: Kim made her first film in 2020, a five-minute documentary on Asian American suffragist Mabel Lee. Find it here.

Parting quote: “When I meet people I don’t always remember people’s pets or their families,” Kim says, “but I remember how they think.”

We’ll occasionally highlight interesting people with interesting jobs that might not always make headlines. Have someone in mind? Let us know at

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