Can a video screen replace a bank's teller line? That's a question some banks and credit unions are asking themselves as they attempt to improve and expand services for customers and cut costs.
From Katie Kuehner-Hebert at BAI Banking Strategies:
In 2008, the $2 billion-asset Coastal Federal Credit Union in Raleigh, N.C. began installing in its branches "personal teller machines (PTMs)," machines that enhance the capabilities of traditional automated teller machines by facilitating cash and check deposits, cash and coin withdrawals and official check withdrawals – and that have a video/audio component that enable members to discuss their transactions with tellers offsite. Members can also ask the offsite tellers additional questions not related to their transaction and can reach the tellers for extended periods of time – from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. seven days a week.
While some folks obviously would rather speak to a teller in person, speaking with a customer service rep over a video phone at an ATM terminal would be an acceptable substitute for me, especially if that terminal was really conveniently located and open for extended hours. I don't think there would be much of a difference between doing a transaction that way and, say, through a drive-through teller line; you're still getting human supervision over the transaction, as well as the opportunity to ask questions of a real human being.
Should it catch on, the technology could help even the playing field between smaller institutions and the big national banks. In past years, the bigs have derived a significant competitive advantage over smaller banks and credit unions from their large and costly network of branches that allow customers to never be too far away from a teller. Like full-service online banking and mobile banking, using video-conferencing tellers is a way to bridge that branch gap, especially if it eventually leads to video-conferencing ATMs.
What do you think? Would a video-conferencing teller be as good to you as face-to-face service, especially if it meant more convenient hours and less time waiting in line? Or would you rather speak to a teller in person?
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