News : Bank of America ATMs Offer Live Tellers on Video
Dover, DE, USA, March 5, 2015 -- Bank of America last year introduced a new technological twist designed to improve upon the typical ATM experience.
The Automated Teller Assist, or ATA, is an ATM with live-video capabilities that allows bank customers to speak with a remote teller located at two call centers in the country – one near Newark and another in Jacksonville, Florida.
"Half the transactions that occur at the bank are processed after hours," said Bassam Awadalla, Bank of America's area executive for consumer banking. "So this is a way we're leveraging new technology to provide our clients with additional options and convenience."
In addition to traditional ATM services, the ATAs allow customers to speak with a teller 7 a.m.-10 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m.-5 p.m. on weekends. Customers also can use them to make loan and credit card payments or cash checks and receive exact change.
The first teller-assist machine in Pennsylvania is at the bank's new Kennett Square branch, which opened in August. A second will be installed in Center City Philadelphia in the coming months.
Bank of America has yet to install an ATA in Delaware, although Awadalla said several potential sites are being considered.
Bank officials also declined to say how many tellers have been hired at Bank of America's Newark-area call center since the teller-assist machines debuted.
"I can say that tellers handling the video conferencing for the ATAs are a mix of existing employees and new hires," he said. "We've hired a good number, but I can't say how many."
Ted Peters, a former CEO with Bryn Mawr Trust said ATAs allow banks to expand their hours and serve customers more efficiently by using a relatively small number of tellers to handle transactions from customers across a wide geographic area. That reduces the amount of time banks are paying idle employees as they wait for customers to walk into a physical branch, he said.
Ed O'Brien, of the banking analyst firm Mercator Advisory Group, said he believes the new teller-assist machines offered by Bank of America and similar devices being used by Chase are more than just novelties.
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"The technology is really a means to an end, and that end is providing banking customers with 24/7 service where and when they want," he said. "So I think it's more than a flash in the plan. It's a response to customer desire for more capabilities and self- and assisted-service or what we call omni-channel banking, in customers have access to these layered, integrated systems."
Peters and O'Brien agreed that ATAs also show how important interaction with a live teller can be for retaining customers.
"A lot of banks pride themselves on customer service," Peters said, "and I think adding tellers to the ATM experience is good evidence that there is still a need for that human element even in today's technologically-driven world."
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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About Bank of America:
Former Bank of America NT&SA (and its parent, BankAmerica Corporation) (NYSE: BAC), founded and originally headquartered in San Francisco, California, is now headquartered in Charlotte, North Carolina, following the 1998 takeover by the North Carolina-based former NationsBank. The resulting merged bank is now known as Bank of America, NA (and its parent, Bank of America Corporation.) The 2008 takeover of Merrill Lynch completed the transformation of this bank comprehensively to being one of the largest banks in the United States.
Published: Friday, March 6, 2015
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