Interactive Teller Machines: banks take step in the futuristic direction

By KATIE COLLINS

Forget about the Flintstones and Bedrock. America’s banks are taking a cue from the Jetson’s. Even though we don’t currently inhabit outer space and interact with robots, aliens and holograms, banking technology is headed in a most futuristic direction.

A middle Georgia community bank just took a leap into the future with Interactive Teller Machines, adding a big brother to the better-known ATMs with ITMs.

A global tech company NCR, has created a new type of teller machine for forward thinking banks. United Bank is one of those financial institutions and has taken the leap to incorporate interactive teller machines into its daily banking capabilities. Beginning in August of 2013, United Bank introduced its customers to a new way of banking with the addition of ITMs.

Now at eight of its 18 locations, these ITM capable branches cover parts of Central Georgia. If you want to experience banking like the Jetson’s and use an ITM, visit a branch in Barnesville, Griffin, Jackson, Thomaston or Zebulon.

An ITM is best described as an ATM with live video feed and with more capabilities. When pulling up to an ITM, there is not much difference visually, but do not be alarmed after you press start and see your teller via live video feed on the screen.

A teller, centrally located in United Bank’s operations center, will walk you through each transaction as though you are inside the bank making a normal, traditional transaction. Do you want to make a loan payment, make a deposit, or cash a check? An ITM can do that, simply place any form of identification on the scanner and follow your teller’s instructions.

“The overall reaction has been that the customers love it and enjoy using it,” said A.J. Holmes, a retail bank manager at United Bank. “We live in an age where a bank being open from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. is very convenient.”

“The convenience factor is the biggest selling point,” said Matthew Peeler, a management associate at United Bank.  “When you tell a customer that they don’t have to rush to the bank coming home from work in order to make a transaction, it opens up a whole realm of possibilities. Today’s society wants premier service at a discount price and with the machines being open earlier and closing later that’s what they’ll get.”

United Bank ITMs are available for most any banking transaction seven days a week, from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. There are ATMs available at every location for transactions that need to take place after 11 p.m. or before 7 a.m.

Larger banks are catching onto the futuristic trend as well. Bank of America has completely revamped 2,000 of its 5,400 branches with a new layout inside and ITM capabilities as well. Bank of America employees will be able to make transactions and deal with customers using iPads and tablets as well.

Along with changing how banks deal with basic transactions, it has changed the bank employee’s jobs, not by taking jobs or replacing employees, but by enhancing current employees skill set.

“It’s the future,” said Peeler. “United Bank has been lucky enough to be part of something that is the next generation. Not only in our town, our region, and our state, but the entire country. It’s not taking people’s jobs, but changing them.”

After seeing the success of this trend, many banks will need to follow suit in order to keep up with today’s banking customer. While there are no flying cars or robot maids, this next step in banking technology is paving the way to a futuristic society.

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