Video banking session pits 'PTM' against ATM

Dec. 8, 2011 | by Kim Williams

Audience members attending a session on video banking at a Retail Banking Research event held this week in Orlando, Fla., had so many questions during the Q&A that the presentation ran 25 minutes over schedule. Questions ranged from the difference between a personal teller machine and an ATM to security concerns.

The session, titled "Centralizing teller services with video banking," was part of the RBR-hosted event "Teller Automation and Branch Cash Management," held Dec. 5 – 6 at the Waldorf Astoria in Orlando. The exclusive, invitation only event was sponsored by CTS Cashpro, Glory, GRGBanking, NCR, Talaris and Wincor Nixdorf.

The senior vice president of North Carolina-based Coastal Federal Credit Union described how his 15 branches have implemented a video banking system that has nearly doubled service hours and reduced teller headcount by 40 percent.

"Let me start by telling you what this is not. This is not a glorified ATM. This is not self-service. This is live, interactive service with a teller," Willard Ross, SVP and chief retail officer for Coastal Federal, told the audience.

Ross explained how a customer would enter the branch, approach the personal teller machine, or PTM, press the start button on the touchscreen monitor, and within seconds, be greeted by a teller onscreen. The teller would then walk the customer through whatever transaction the customer wishes to make. The tellers work remotely from the bank's headquarters.

Ross said with the exception of providing traveler's checks and performing change of address services, the PTM can complete all normal teller services. It can even dispense a cashier's check, which elicited a "wow" from audience member Rauly Butler, SVP and retail banking manager for California-based Mechanics Bank.

"Who buys traveler's checks anymore anyway?" Ross asked the audience.

Ross told audience members that in order to ensure the personal data security of customers, tellers can ask the customer to provide identification. The ID is inserted into a slot located on the machine and scanned, and then the teller can proceed with the transaction after verification.

Customers have the option of allowing transaction details to be displayed on the screen or hiding the information to prevent any shoulder surfing from other customers queued up for the machines.

Is it an ATM or not?

One audience member asked Ross how a PTM is any different from an ATM since both machines theoretically could perform the same functions if equipped with the pertinent software and components.

He responded by explaining that the teller would actually be keying in commands to the machine during the transaction and walking the customer through the entire process just like a teller would during a face-to-face transaction in a typical branch setting.

"The machine handles the cash, but the teller would perform an account transfer and key in the data to trigger the printing of a receipt. So, it's very much an interactive experience. It's not self-service. They're dealing live with a teller," Ross said.

The audience member pressed him by arguing that since the machine is counting, handling and dispensing or depositing the cash, how is it different from an ATM?

"Because an ATM is limited in what it can do. Here's an example. I've got a $2,000 check to deposit, and I could choose to deposit it at an ATM, but I guarantee every financial institution represented in this room will place a hold on that check consistently. A teller can tell whether or not to place a hold," Ross said.

He explained that the PTM provides a human touch and relationship whereas a traditional ATM does not.

"So, although in many cases, these same transactions can be done in self-service mode, the added element of personal touch makes the experience so much different. It's also facilitating more of a migration for those customers that were technology phobic. They might say, 'you know, I've seen this through a PTM, maybe I can use a self-service machine now,'" one audience member observed.

For more information on this topic, visit our conferences research center.

Topics: Associations / Conferences, Bank / Credit Union, Bank Security, Branch Transformation, Vault Cash / Cash Management

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