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An article relating to this blog post on Finextra:

IBM unveils virtual teller

IBM has introduced a front office kiosk for branches that enables customers to interact with a virtual bank teller.

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Virtual Tellers? What about all that investment in the ATM?

Am I missing the point here? Most teller capabilities are already available at advanced functionality ATMs and self-service devices. The reason that many people still use the teller to conduct these basic transactions is presumably because they don't feel comfortable using self-service. In which case, the virtual teller isn't really going to help and it may even alienate customers as a new and frustratingly impersonal service. While the ATM may not have a personal face, customers are at least familiar and confident with it.

Banks have invested significantly in advanced functionality ATMs and kiosks to migrate customers away from the teller environment. Judging by the continued rollout of these devices, this move has achieved a reasonable degree of success. Moving people to automated services enables banks to save money and allows them to invest in branch layouts and teller staff to give the customers a better in-branch experience.  

Using virtual tellers to replicate functionality that is already available on the ATM seems like a wasted investment for the bank. Moreover, an additional service in the branch could also confuse customers about where to conduct basic banking transactions such as bill payment and money transfer. Is it not better to focus on the trusted ATM which has a wide and growing level of customer acceptance for automated deposit and other functions latterly provided by the teller?


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