Banks embrace cash recycling, ITMs to enhance branch ops

New ATM technologies, including cash recyclers, interactive teller machines and other devices that drive more efficient management of funds, are helping transform bank branches by saving considerable time and resources, according to experts speaking Wednesday at the ATMIA U.S. conference. 

Sean Farrell, CEO of QDS, a research firm that specializes in branch transformation and ATM technologies, said cash-recycling technology has demonstrated results, with cash-in-transit visits down 10% to 20% and service calls down anywhere from 25% to 30% due to reduced error rates. 

“So recycling, in the right environment, drives less interaction from staff or CIT with machine, leading to greater uptime, and allowing the device to serve a wider client base beyond just consumer/retail transactions,” he said. “The ability for the device to handle small business deposits, in extended hours formats, is a welcome [addition] of functionality to our banking clients.” 

Cash recyclers essentially take deposits from retail bank customers, including individual and particularly local retail and other small business account holders and automatically count those funds, sort them and then reuse them for cash withdrawals. 

The process helps reduce the amount required by tellers to handle large amounts of fund deposits, reduces the need to replenish ATMs in the branch, reduces the number of armed security visits to add cash to the machines and the additional functionality of many of these machines allow banks to shorten teller lines and serve customers more efficiently. 

Cash-recycling machines also help improve security as well, as tellers can cut back the amount of cash they need to maintain at their windows by up to 90%, while leaving most of the cash in a bank vault and reducing theft risk with less exposed cash. 

The major players in the U.S. market include Glory, ARCA, Hyosung and ATEC. Hyosung just in December introduced a line of cash-recycling machines that allow small businesses to drop off large amounts of cash during the day or during overnight hours. 

Hyosung told ATM Marketplace that it was getting significant interest from banking customers and had a large number of these new machines actively in circulation. 

Farrell also outlined some of the benefits of ITMs, which allow banks to offload up to 75% of their transactions to ITM’ that would normally require a teller. He said the ITMs help reduce the need for tube systems in many cases where a bank customer has to fill out a slip or put cash in a tube that is shipped to a teller behind a drive-up window. 

The ITMs allow banks to offer extended hours, where the physical branch is not required for extended hours, but the call center can connect interactive tells to the ITM customer and the bank can operate that system until 7 to 8 p.m. at night. The bank can also move additional services like car or mortgage payments to an ITM environment. 

During the session — moderated by Brenda Pino, vice president of physical channel operations at BMO Harris Bank N.A. — Tyler Beck, senior vice president and COO at Five Star Credit Union, provided metrics demonstrating how much ITMs were able to boost efficiencies at the bank. 

Five Star, a $500 million credit union with about 50,000 members in Georgia and Alabama, was able to move about 75% of branch transactions to a drive-thru using the ITM and after opening three new ITM branches in early 2019, at least two of those branches are among the top five branches at the entire company. The credit union was able to save $240,000 per year in labor cost savings.

“We’ve actually seen members transition from traditional branches to new technology branches,” Becksaid. 

The panel also included Brad Browder, CEO of HTx Services, and Calum Robinson, VP and head of consultancy of CMS Analytics.

Cover image: Five Star Credit Union