Bank of America has received plenty of complaints from customers, but now, the Charlotte-based banking giant is feeling backlash from an unfamiliar source -- one of its own employees.
Alex Shalom, a Bank of America teller, has launched an online petition to encourage his employer to end its "ATMs with Teller Assist" program. The program combines the typical transaction capabilities of an ATM with the opportunity to have a video conversation with a human teller. While BofA emphasized its enthusiasm when it first announced the program earlier this year, Shalom is concerned about job security for himself and his colleagues.
"These video tellers will spend their days in front of a camera, staring at customers through a screen," Shalom writes. "The bank plans to pay these workers a lower wage than in-person tellers, with far fewer benefits."
Shalom also says he believes that the technology will have a negative impact on the overall customer service experience of banking customers.
"Being a bank teller is all about building a personal connection with our customers, something that I couldn't do through a video screen," Shalom writes.
As more account holders embrace online and mobile tools, banks are searching for opportunities to use emerging technologies to shape a new banking experience. While Shalom does raise some very valid concerns about the potential impact of video tellers, BofA's program does seem to have one big bonus for customers -- extended hours. Video teller assistance is available from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. local time on weekdays and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends.
Earlier this year, Shelley Waite, ATM channel executive at Bank of America, called the program "the best of both worlds" and highlighted the convenience of having a personal touch at the push of a button.
Would you be able to receive the same level of service if all banks offered a virtual connection? Or, do you crave a true face-to-face relationship with the bank tellers at your branch?