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Rise of the Machines — Interactive Teller Machines (ITMs), That Is…

No, this is not a scene from a sci-fi action movie starring the immortal Arnold Schwarzenegger. As far as we know, there is no "Skynet" that has developed an artificial intelligence with the motive of eradicating all human life.

However, there are strong signals that banks are looking to deploy more "machines" in their branches. Most importantly, these machines are here to service their customers, not destroy mankind.


Source: LinkedIn

Last month, Jim Caliendo, president and CEO at design and consulting firm PWCampbell, talked about his belief that bank branches will remain popular and shared his insights into what design and marketing steps were vital to their success.

Nevertheless, banks and credit unions are rethinking their brick-and-mortar emphasis, and there are a great deal of FI's looking at ATMs -- now ITMs, or Interactive Teller Machines -- as a means to combine human service with digital convenience via live video. They also see ITMs as a low-cost option to reach new markets or infill others.


Some have felt that ATMs have faded into obscurity to some extent because of in-your-pocket mobile banking. However, the human service provided by live two-way video via ITMs is proving popular, as noted in an article at The Financial Brand:

Also known as video remote tellers or virtual teller machines, ITMs offer an ATM-like interface with a video screen that offers real-time access to a human representative, sometimes centrally located. Current proponents of the technology say the “branch in a box” concept can open new, low-cost distribution channels that marry digital convenience and human-based service.

ITMs, the article goes on to explain, are not brand-new tech:

Bank of America rolled them out in Boston in 2013 as “ATMs with Teller Assist” with the intent of expanding the service nationwide, but then things went silent. The simultaneous rise of digital banking led many consumers to look to their phones instead, says Joe Sullivan, CEO of Market Insights. “In-app video capabilities took some of the thunder out of the ITM. They’re around, but there has been this cultural resistance over fear of cannibalizing staffing from the in-person experience. ITM adoption has been slow,” says Sullivan.

woman at atm

Sullivan goes on to note that the pandemic experience has made people well acquainted with interactions via Zoom meetings and teleconferencing, so the idea of working with a bank professional via remote screen while depositing some checks into an ITM is a comfortable proposition, offering the efficiency of technology with the value of human interaction.

When depositing these checks, ITMs will continue to use the same deposit channels and back-end technologies to scan an image of the check, recognition software to extract data, and image-analysis to detect fraud. This is where AI technologies -- with no malicious intent -- kicks in. Rather than take over the world, the AI technologies are specifically trained with millions of items to perform the recognition of fields like CAR/LAR and MICR and detect fraudulent items (i.e. counterfeits, alterations, and forgeries).

So, don't you worry. Our OrbNet AI and OrbNet Forensic AI are here to help stop bad actors, not become one!

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