ABA Banking Journal - September/October 2015 - (Page 36)

>>> OPERATIONS the High-touch side of HIGH tecH In the right setting, interactive teller machines can give financial institutions a competitive edge-including an invaluable opportunity to connect with customers. bY JUlIe KNUDsoN w hen Citizens Bank of Edmond in Oklahoma sold some of its branches to another financial institution, it needed a way to maintain engagement with existing customers whose brick-andmortar location options had changed. The solution? The interactive teller machine (ITM). This high-tech, hightouch platform enabled the institution to continue offering customers a convenient banking option without opening full replacement branches. "We wanted to have a way where we could still connect with our customers even though we weren't going to have a physical location available for them," says Jill Castilla, the bank's president and CEO. Customer convenience was a primary factor behind United Bank's decision to deploy ITMs. The 110-year-old community bank based in Zebulon, Ga., operates in a number of counties surrounding Atlanta and other nearby population and job centers. "A lot of our customer base has historically left our footprint to drive into the cities," explains CEO Jim Edwards. With their early morning departures and late evening arrivals, he says customers often weren't near a branch during regular banking 36 ABA BANKING JOURNAL | sEpTEmBEr/OcTOBEr 2015 hours. "Our initial interest in ITM technology was to allow us to extend live, face-to-face-albeit through a video screen-customer service for significantly longer hours than what we were able to do cost effectively through traditional bank branches." Rather than risk losing customers to other banks with branches located deep within the job-intensive areas of the region, ITMs enabled United Bank to provide the convenience of banking when and where it made sense. Bank customers increasingly expect that kind of anytime, anywhere access. Whether it's placing pizza orders online or asking questions of a retailer through a live chat application, today's consumers are embracing the digital realm with astonishing speed. The team at Houston-based Cadence Bank saw the impending technology shift as a way to gain a competitive advantage. ITMs "seemed to fit with how we visualize our desire to be a more digital bank and to have a more integrated customer experience," says Dann Lee, SVP of retail delivery. Setting themselves apart from others in the market was important, but it wasn't everything. "We also thought it might provide us some opportunity to extend our reach," Lee adds. By deploying ITMs, the bank has extended its hours and established a presence in locations where building a branch didn't make sense or wasn't possible. From managing cost efficiencies to overseeing prudent real estate decisions, ITM technology has handily addressed a number of internal and external issues. A leader in the ITM space, NCR Corporation saw an early use for interactive technology as the country emerged from the recession of 20072008. It was a difficult period for community banks, and Jed Taylor, general manager of interactive banking at the Duluth, Ga.-based technology powerhouse, says many financial institutions were looking at their five-year plans with new eyes. "At that time, we saw a lot of people looking to create branches in a much more economical way," he recalls. ITMs have further taken hold as financial institutions continue to pursue revenue generation opportunities that spring from improved consumer experiences, such as "creating extended hours or creating locations where they wouldn't normally have a branch," Taylor says. Implementation done right Rarely does a one-size-fits-all approach work when it comes to technology. Each bank must examine

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of ABA Banking Journal - September/October 2015

CHAIRMAN'S VIEW
UPFRONT
PICTURE THIS
ECONOMIC OUTLOOK
POISED AND PROACTIVE ON THE FARM
MEETING CUSTOMERS WHERE THEY ARE
INVESTING IN STRONG RURAL COMMUNITIES
ABA COMPLIANCE CENTER INBOX
OPERATIONS
BANKS IN INSURANCE
REAL ESTATE LENDING
BOARD MATTERS
INVESTOR PERSPECTIVE
LEGAL BRIEFS
FROM THE STATES
COMPLIANCE
INNOVATIONS IN SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
INDEX OF ADVERTISERS

ABA Banking Journal - September/October 2015

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