August 26, 2016

Gorham Savings Bank demonstrates new technology - By Elizabeth Richards

Gorham Savings Bank is introducing exciting new technology in several locations, and helping customers learn how to utilize these new digital options through technology centers in some of their branches. 

Rebecca Winslow, director for retail delivery for Gorham Savings Bank said the Standish branch has the second technology center, which was put into place to give bank staff the ability to showcase and demonstrate new digital options for clients. One of the most interesting new options is the interactive teller machine (ITM).
At first glance, it looks like an automated teller machine (ATM), though larger. And it can be used as an ATM if customers simply slide their card as usual. But unlike a typical ATM, a live person is waiting in a remote location to help the customer through their transactions if desired. 

“We’re really looking to utilize these for extending our banking hours in a more affordable way,” said Winslow. Because there is a live person at the other end, customers can do almost anything at an ITM that they could do by visiting a teller during regular banking hours. Simply touching the screen brings up the teller, who can then walk the customer through their transactions, including simple deposits, withdrawals, check cashing, choosing a new PIN number, or resetting home banking. ITM allows for one person in a remote location to service three or four machines, rather than needing to staff four locations. At present, customers aren’t used to the extended banking hours from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m, so limited staff is sufficient, Winslow said. “As adoption ramps up and people start using it more often, we’ll look at the numbers and wait time,” she said. 

The machines have a few limitations, like not being able to accept coins, not being able to open new accounts, and not being set up to handle huge commercial deposits easily. The goal, Winslow said, is to monitor the usage and find out what the market is looking for. 

As they do so, education of customers is important. One of the biggest things customers want is reassurance that tellers won’t be eliminated, Winslow said. And they won’t. Instead, Gorham Savings Bank is looking for ways to serve more locations in better ways. It’s about finding a good balance, Winslow said. 

It’s also about teaching people how to use the machines so they are comfortable with them. The technology centers help with this, as does having staff on hand to walk customers through the process. The tech center was put into the Gorham branch because it’s the busiest, and they could get good customer feedback there, Winslow said. “We did get a ton of feedback, good, bad and indifferent,” she said. The feedback was mostly good, she added, with customers loving the idea of extended hours.

ITM’s are in use in four locations currently – in Kennebunk, at a self-service location located at 118 Congress Street in Portland, in the Gorham branch, and now in Standish. In Standish, the unit is currently inside where use can be easily demonstrated. It will be moved to a drive through lane in September.  

Gorham Savings Bank has committed to putting five ITMs into service. Although Windham was slated to be the fifth, a renovation of the Grand Trunk space in Portland has shifted the focus and the fifth ITM will be put in there instead. That means that the technology won’t be available in Windham for at least another year, Winslow predicted.

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