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As fintech encroaches further on traditional financial services’ turf, banks and credit unions are increasingly investing in tools and technology to provide consumers with easy access to their money and on-demand counsel and support. One of those tools is the interactive teller machine (ITM), with its unique ability to meet the demand for banking anytime and anywhere. “ITMs provide a bridge for digital and physical channels,” according to Believe in Banking on the hybrid tool. “The ITM can service many banking needs and provide a local market presence for the institution, something consumers consistently report remains important in choosing a primary financial relationship.”
While ITMs can drive important efficiencies, such as opening banking staff up to deliver higher value advisory services for customers, the ultimate success of ITM depends on strategic deployment. “When we think about how financial institutions can make the most of this investment,” says Juliet D’Ambrosio, Adrenaline’s Senior Director of Strategy, “The answer comes down – when we look across the research – to location, location, location.” For banks, that means they can capitalize on that physical presence, and for consumers, that means having a powerful, close-by alternative to a branch visit.
Considerations for where to locate the ITM are not based merely on bank preference or available real estate. Instead, banks or credit unions should consider their institution’s individual retail strategy, along with the existing branch network and site-specific demands. Our data finds that currently FIs mostly place ITMs inside the branch, perhaps because of the staffing support needed to onboard the new technology with customers or members. However, future-facing, as extended access becomes even more in-demand, more ITMs should be optimally located in vestibules or outside the branch in adjacent areas and remote locations.
When optimally deployed, ITMs uniquely satisfy consumer needs for connection and convenience, as few other banking channels can. “What we know is that consumers really see ITMs as an alternative to a branch visit,” says Juliet D’Ambrosio. “So locating the ITM, not inside the branch, but nearby and adjacent to the branch is truly best practice.” This gives consumers 24/7 access via a vestibule or a well-situated remote kiosk location near the branch, matching how people want to use them. Further, convenient remote access gives consumers the kind of self-directed tools they want with leading digital technologies, like mobile banking.
As with any new channel, financial institutions may have some initial concerns about deploying ITMs, most of them centered around budget and staffing. Ongoing cost, return on investment and teller resistance top the list, but bankers also seem to be concerned about consumer reception – apprehension that doesn’t bear out in real-world applications. Quite the contrary, in fact, our research finds that consumers look forward to using this technology and are very satisfied with their ITM experience once they do. For FIs, any trepidation is seemingly resolved within 12-24 months post-deployment.
Once deployed, ITM performance is so strong that any initial trepidation transforms into full support. So much so, that that the vast majority of banks and credit unions currently deploying ITMs plan for full network implementation across their existing branch networks and on into growth markets. In terms of expansion, ITMs are an important part of the overall approach for financial institutions to increase their influence. “Making the most of an institution’s investment in ITM means looking not only at its ability to deliver efficiencies, says Juliet D’Ambrosio, “But as part of your overall branch distribution and retail delivery strategies.
Significantly lower in cost that even the smallest microbranch – in construction, maintenance and FTE – ITM investment is even more effective when banks incorporate core technology on which they can expand and extend functionality even further. From a market presence perspective, financial institutions use ITMs as a “dot connector” between larger format branches. “It’s an important spoke in the hub-and-spoke model,” finds Juliet D’Ambrosio. “Like microbranches, ITMs act as brand beacons that deliver on consumer preference for branches nearby, ultimately driving more deposit share.”
“We’re not trying to replace human interaction. When a customer makes a decision to drive to us, get out of their car, and walk into the branch, why miss the chance to reinforce why they love us by pushing them to a machine? Put the machine where they’ve chosen a more convenient way to interact.”
~ CIO, Credit Union
In our next installment in our ITM White Paper series, we’ll discuss considerations for financial institutions in rolling out this new technology, including implementation challenges and consumer and staff adoption. For more information on remote delivery and ITM deployment, stay tuned to Adrenaline and our mission-oriented platform Believe in Banking as we track the big trends impacting financial services and informing the banking experience. If you'd like to discuss custom ITM solutions for your branch network, we'd love to hear from you. Reach out to us at email@example.com and we'll connect you with one of our experts.
Adrenaline is an end-to-end brand experience company serving the financial industry. We move brands and businesses ahead by delivering on every aspect of their experience across digital and physical channels, from strategy through implementation. Our multi-disciplinary team works with leadership to advise on purpose, position, culture, and retail growth strategies. We create brands people love and engage audiences from employees to customers with story-led design and insights-driven marketing; and we design and build transformative brand experiences across branch networks, leading the construction and implementation of physical spaces that drive business advantage and make the brand experience real.