Nedbank has launched an interactive teller and banker ATM at its flagship new generation branch in Sandton in Johannesburg.
According to the financial services group, it is the only bank in Africa and the second bank in the world to make use of the device.
Depending on its functionalities, each ATM costs between R400 000 to R600 000, said Brain Duguid, Nedbank’s managing executive for integrated channels.
Nedbank’s device allows customers to engage with tellers, based at off-site service centres in Newtown in Gauteng or Sugar Mill in KwaZulu Natal, via an on-screen video chat session. This allows the bank to provide around the clock service while reducing the number of tellers needed in the branch.
Duguid said the bank’s move toward self-service banking channels, now is in its sixth year, is unlikely to result in job losses for tellers.
“We multi-skill our tellers. They don’t only do standalone telling, they also do other servicing functions. It has actually helped us to leverage our people and equip them with new skills so that they can pursue their careers. We have reduced significant numbers of tellers but at the end of the day, we haven’t retrenched a single person,” he told Moneyweb.
The device, complete with built in ID and signature authentication, also enables clients to make card-less deposits and withdrawals exceeding conventional ATM limits. Branch staff can also monitor ATM activity via smart devices and provide assistance as needed.
“Essentially, what we’ve created is a vehicle. It’s a value delivery system so anything we can do on our teller, we will eventually perform on this device and very importantly, the teller can take control of this device. For all intents and purposes, the reason why you go into a branch and engage with a teller, is for the teller to authenticate you and if the teller can authenticate you remotely, it opens up a whole new world in terms of functionality,” said Preni Naidoo, executive head of self-service banking at Nedbank.
He said the bank plans to use the device’s biometric capabilities.
For now the only operational device of its kind in Africa will be located in Sandton, a stone’s throw away from the Nedbank’s Research & Development hub.
It is awaiting delivery of 10 more interactive teller and banker ATMs, which are likely to be tested in different parts of its 215 South African micro markets such that it “gets a sense of the relevance and take up of the device in the market”.
Duguid said the bank will continue to invest in its online platforms and in branches so as to expand its footprint across the bankable population and provide enough access points to Nedbank services. Since 2010, the bank has grown its branches by 30% to over 800 branches and doubled its ATM network to over 3500 devices.
Naidoo added that the new interactive teller and banker ATM will address some of the challenges the bank faces in extending services to rural markets.