IBM has agreed to buy Promontory Financial Group — a consultancy so influential it has been dubbed the industry's "shadow regulator" — in a move that could extend artificial intelligence into every aspect of banking.

Under the deal, which was announced Thursday, Promontory's stable of ex-regulators and former industry executives will be tasked with teaching IBM's Watson to address risk management and compliance issues at banks. The goal is to create an AI capable of sifting through reams of data collected by banks to find potential problems and suggest solutions.

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