Will Online Banking Render Tellers Obsolete?

Throughout the history of banks, tellers represented the connection between individuals and their money in a financial institution. They handled deposits, transfers, withdrawals, loans, credit increases and account openings and closures. The Internet, however, has started to change all of that. More than ever before bank customers are choosing to process their transactions online or at ATMs. This has drastically reduced the need for tellers inside bank branches, and it has even reduced the presence of bank branches themselves. Many question whether or not tellers will be a presence in the future of banking. While there are good arguments that point to their obsolescence, bank tellers will most likely stick around for the foreseeable future.

Online Banking is Convenient

Online Banking

With the exception of a few customers who like the personal interaction of a human teller, most people these days prefer to carry out their bank business online. There are numerous reasons for this. Online banking transactions take a fraction of the time as in-person ones, can be performed from the comfort of a home or office, and don’t require normal adherence to business hours. Online banking doesn’t require a customer to wait in line at the bank or in a telephone queue. These benefits often outweigh the effects of a warm and friendly bank teller’s face. Banking is seen as a chore to most people, so any mechanism that helps them perform banking tasks more quickly and easily will be used.

Online Banking Helps Banks Cut Costs

A large percentage of banking transactions involve simple credit and debit transfers. These are tasks that can easily be handled by computers in online banking systems and ATMs. These automated systems have large upfront costs, but over time they are much cheaper to operate than a group of tellers that require salaries, benefits and time off. Like any other business, the primary purpose of a bank is to make money. Online banking helps reduce labor costs across the board. One bank,   EverBank® spotted this trend early on and jumped on it creating a strictly online bank without all the overhead of  local branches. This allows them to offer higher interest rates for their  EverBank® Yield Pledge® Money Market Account.

Why Online Banking Won’t Eliminate All Tellers

Many banking tasks still require a human touch that websites and ATMs have yet been able to duplicate. The most important among these are conflict resolution. Customers are often charged undue fees, overdraft their accounts and experience problems with their money that require complicated reasoning to explain. Banks have yet to develop artificial intelligence that can deal with a customer who is upset and needs help. Live bank tellers are trained to treat customers with respect and listen to their needs. Computers also have trouble making decisions that require abstract thinking, like approving a loan or reversing a fee.

While automated systems have reduced the number of human errors that occur in transactions, they also present a number of security vulnerabilities. Many customers don’t feel comfortable leaving their accounts open for online access. They like the security that is provided by a human teller who checks identification every time a customer enters the bank. As long as there are bank customers who feel safer walking into a branch than performing a task online, tellers will have a place in the financial world.

And so Everbank does have facilities and tellers available by phone to handle not only typical banking transactions but they actually go beyond the ordinary bank and also provide brokerage transactions and foreign currency transactions and even CD’s denominated in foreign currencies.

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This article was composed by Tyler Durden for the team at State Tax Advisors.

Image courtesy of Naypong / FreeDigitalPhotos.net


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