As mobile and online banking capabilities continue to shift how customers interact with their brick-and-mortar banks, North Shore Bank has introduced a new wave of technology to streamline transactions for its customers.
The bank recently installed the first video ATM in the state at its new Kenosha branch located inside Festival Foods at 3207 80th St. A second video ATM, also known as an APTRA Interactive Teller, will be up and running at a North Shore Bank drive-through branch in the Green Bay/Appleton area late this spring.
Through the device, which is distributed by Duluth, Ga.-based consumer transaction technology firm NCR Corp., bank customers can conduct transactions live with a remote teller working out of North Shore Bank’s corporate office in Brookfield.
Video tellers can perform about 90 to 95 percent of the transactions offered by a regular teller in a branch, according to Susan Doyle, vice president of branch operations at North Shore Bank. Key functions include deposits, withdrawals, completion of loan payments and bill payments, and printing of banking literature.
The new technology has enabled the Kenosha branch to extend its hours by about 30 percent. While bankers are on-site about 59 hours each week, video tellers are available 70 hours a week: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
“We’re always looking for ways to provide convenient banking services to meet the needs of our customers,” Doyle said.
That convenience is apparent not only in the video ATM’s hours of operations, but also in its ease of use for customers, no matter how tech savvy they are.
When a customer approaches the video ATM, she touches the screen and is greeted by a video teller. With a government-issued ID on hand to scan, the customer can immediately instruct the video teller on how to handle his or her money. No deposit or withdrawal tickets are needed to move the funds.
The video ATM handles both cash and checks. With checks, a customer simply places the check into the scanner for the machine to read. An image of the check will appear to both the teller and the customer, and an image of the check can even be printed on the receipt.
For customers concerned about privacy, the video ATM has a digital chat feature as well as a nearby handset through which they can communicate directly with the teller.
Privacy is reinforced by the location of the video ATM in the branch. It sits off to the side, removed from other routine business operations of the bank.
While video tellers take care of the needs of customers looking to make quick transactions, the bankers on-site are free to greet other customers and sit down with them to fulfill more extensive banking needs. They can also perform traditional transactions with customers who prefer face-to-face interactions or help those customers become more comfortable using the video technology.
“From the business side, it enables us to leverage our human resources,” Doyle said.
Deploying tellers strategically has become more important, as North Shore Bank has experienced an average 27 percent decline in teller transactions among its 47 branches over the last five years following the rise of mobile and online banking capabilities.
Now through video ATMs, tellers can service more than one location and increase their productivity, Doyle said.
And while that service may be delivered digitally, video tellers are expected to uphold the customer service quality standards used with any customer.
“We’re a people business,” Doyle said. “Video tellers are not about minimizing the connection with people. In fact, it’s more about maximizing it. (Customers) are getting to know our video tellers by name, and we’re getting to know our video customers by name, no different than we would in any of our other branches.”
Since North Shore Bank introduced its first video ATM in December, it has welcomed users representing a spectrum of ages and backgrounds.
The positive response to the technology is an encouraging sign of widespread adoption of these devices in the future, which will depend on customers’ acceptance of them, Doyle said.
Rose Oswald Poels, president and chief executive officer of the Wisconsin Bankers Association, said she believes video ATMs will become more popular among banks as people continue to assimilate to technology and banks seek additional ways to realize cost savings.
From her observations, banks are already reducing their physical branch locations as technology allows them to deliver teller line services without the expense of a large building.
“Banks are always looking for more ways to cut down expenses while still delivering high quality customer service, and leveraging technology is a way to do that, and this is just one more way to do that over time,” Oswald Poels said.