Submitted by Mike Mish Shedlock via Mishtalk,

Tellers, cashiers, loan officers: Who needs em?

Banks do need those services of course, but do those services have to be in every location?

Will video teleconferencing suffice?

Please consider Bank of America Testing ‘Completely Automated’ Branches.

Bank of America is testing “completely automated” branches, its latest push into self-service as CEO Brian Moynihan seeks to further lower costs at the Charlotte-based company, an executive said Tuesday.

Dean Athanasia, co-head of consumer banking, disclosed the new branches at a financial services forum in Florida, during a discussion on Bank of America’s efforts to cut expenses and improve efficiencies.

The bank is testing three such branches in Denver, Colo., and Minneapolis, spokeswoman Anne Pace told the Observer. Smaller than a traditional branch, they feature automated teller machines and video-conferencing technology so customers can talk to off-site bankers, Pace said. The branches are also staffed with an on-site banker in case customers need assistance, she said.

Bank of America is assessing how much time the branches, roughly a quarter the size of a typical branch, need to be staffed with an on-site banker or if a banker is needed at all, she said. “These centers offer our clients expanded access to our capabilities and expertise,” Pace said.

As a security measure, video-conferencing rooms will only be accessed with an ATM card or debit card from Bank of America or other banks, she added.

This is a big deal. I occasionally go into a local Harris/BMO bank. It typically has 3 people behind the counter and another 2-3 bank officers in offices.

In the above scenario, those 5-6 people get compressed to 1-2. And if they get rid of all the loan officers, the savings is even greater.

Such changes will not happen overnight, but they are coming.

Mike “Mish” Shedlock

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