Video calls are now a standard feature on smartphones, but getting customers comfortable with talking to a person on a screen remains a hurdle to the adoption of videoconferencing in branch banking.
Extraco Banks in Temple, Tex., for instance, began using videoconferencing 10 years ago. But the bank’s tellers are still busy with walk-in customers on payday Fridays, and its high-definition video phones tend to be used more by retail customers than commercial clients.
“We wanted to be able to connect customers to someone that’s a product champion, that knew a lot of answers and could take a deep dive on issues like a customer dispute on a really busy day,” said James Geeslin, vice chairman of Extraco Banks and CEO and president of Extraco Consulting.
Even large banks that have invested in the technology have had to actively push it to customers.
In the past two years, Bank of America has built 23 advanced centers — small branches ranging from 1,200 to 2,000 square feet in space, unstaffed but equipped with videoconferencing and sensors — and equipped 850 financial centers with videoconferencing technology.