Need to Know
- Comerica is rolling out virtual teller machines across its Michigan branches to combat a continuous decline in overall industry bank visits.
- The virtual teller machines, powered by Banker Connect, will connect users to tellers located in the bank’s Auburn Hills tech center and allow them to complete many of the transactions they’re used to with in-person banking.
- The Financial Brand reports that consumer visits to retail bank branches are set to drop 36% between 2017 and 2022, with the typical consumer visiting a bank branch just four times a year by 2022.
Comerica Bank is embracing digital technology, unveiling virtual teller machines in its Michigan branches. Using Banker Connect, customers connect to tellers via video, receiving similar services they’d receive from an in-person customer service representative.
Comerica’s switch to digital comes as the number of physical branches across the country continues to decline and banks look for ways to streamline operational costs while keeping in line with changing customer behavior. In 2016, Comerica Bank closed over a dozen of its branches across Michigan and 40 branches nationwide, cutting approximately 800 jobs in the process.
Comerica is not alone in its revamp of the traditional banking experience. Cincinnati’s Fifth Third Bank recently opened NextGen banking centers, “Apple-Store esque” branches where tellers armed with tablets assist customers in the lobby. Chase has also begun exploring bank teller automation with their digital lobbies and eATM’s.
Despite the push for digital, complex transactions still require the touch of a human. Comerica customers visiting Michigan branches will be connected with Comerica employees at the bank’s tech center in Auburn Hills.
“Branches are still very relevant to customers, yet they are being used differently than they have in previous generations,” said Bobbi Jo Lucas, retail executive of Fifth Third Bank in Eastern Michigan. “Today, it’s about growing the relationship by delivering a holistic experience—digital and physical blending to perfectly meet [customer] needs.”