In lieu of teller stations, Greenfield Savings Bank offers ATMs with videochat capabilities

  • Greenfield Savings Bank Marketing Director Paul Benajmin does some banking via video chat at one of the Greenfield branch’s new drive-up machines. STAFF PHOTO/MAX MARCUS

  • Greenfield Savings Bank Marketing Director Paul Benjamin counts money, to the penny, withdrawn with a teller via video chat at one of the Greenfield branch’s new drive-up machines. STAFF PHOTO/MAX MARCUS

Staff Writer
Published: 12/5/2019 6:19:19 PM
Modified: 12/5/2019 6:19:09 PM

GREENFIELD — Patrons of Greenfield Savings Bank will notice something unexpected the next time they pull up to one of the teller stations at the bank’s Greenfield branch.

ATMs with video chat capabilities have replaced the drive-up tellers at the 400 Main St. location. The new machines have microphones and cameras, letting customers talk with a teller via video chat. The tellers now work at the bank’s branch at 282 Avenue A in Turners Falls.

“A lot of people want to talk to an actual person,” said the bank’s marketing director Paul Benjamin. “We like the personal touch. … We think that’s a big difference between local banks and national banks.”

The new machines have not replaced jobs or reduced services. In fact, the bank is actually hiring more tellers, Benjamin said.

With the new machines, tellers are more available to customers than they used to be. Before, the drive-up at the Greenfield branch had two teller stations and one ATM. Now, all three stations have ATMs that can video chat with tellers.

Additionally, the bank’s hours are expanded. Tellers are now available from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays, and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Before, tellers were only available from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on weekdays, and 9 a.m. to noon on Saturdays. (Outside those hours, the machines work as regular ATMs.)

The greater availability has been especially popular with families where both parents work, and with commuters who don’t have time in the morning and afternoon, said bank vice presidents Denise Coyne and Hector Toledo.

“We would have lines there at 8 o’clock, waiting to open,” Benjamin said.

Because the new machines allow customers to work with a teller, they can provide all the services that tellers can but ATMs can’t. They can cash checks to the penny, they can give bills in specific denominations and they can do complex transactions involving multiple accounts.

The video chat machines aren’t totally new. The first ones were installed two years ago at walk-up ATMs in Northampton and Amherst, according to Coyne, with the Turners Falls tellers also providing the video chat services. Another walk-up machine was added later in Hadley.

These drive-up machines at the Greenfield branch, which were installed between June and November, are the first with video chat capabilities in Franklin County.

Coyne said there has been a bit of a learning curve, but that the bank has made an effort to help confused customers and show them how the new machines work.

“Like with any new technology or change, there are opportunities,” Coyne said. “Once they use it, they’re very pleased with it.”

The bank expects to build more video chat machines in the future, Coyne said, but probably will not retrofit existing ATMs.

Reach Max Marcus at mmarcus@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 261.




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