Financial inclusion and access to self-service banking is becoming increasingly important as financial institutions across the country look to grow their ATM install base.
The ATM remains one of the most frequently used banking channels in developing countries and is still a critical component of day-to-day activities as cash remains vital.
Commercial banks have been stepping up their game to ensure full customer satisfaction and convenience with minimum or no security disruptions. In that vein, Scotiabank T&T Ltd will be introducing intelligent deposit machines (IDMs) in the coming months.
IDMs, also known as deposit automation, allow customers to make “no-envelope” deposits at ATMs.
Deposit automation can reduce many of the bank’s costs. Specifically, in the case of bulk scanning technologies, there are reductions associated with less fraud, eliminating “empty envelope fraud” from day one and making it more difficult for criminals present bogus cheques.
Brendan King, executive vice president, global retail banking technology, Scotiabank, said the aim is to increase the functionality of Scotiabank’s ATMs so customers can do more with ease.
“The envelope-free deposits will enable customers to put cash in the machine and get immediate credit on that cash,” he said.
“We are also accepting cheque deposits through the machines without an envelope. When that cheque is drawn on us it will give you immediate credit on that cheque as well, so no more waiting to get your cash. It’s really exciting to bring that increased functionality to our customers.”
King, who was interviewed following Scotiabank’s official launch of its Price Plaza Digital Branch in Chaguanas, said intelligent deposits also guarantee a more secure banking environment, making it difficult for fraudsters to penetrate.
“Now that there’s no more envelope the machine will scan the cash and cheques in real time and will give you a receipt. It will give you a picture of it so you will see exactly what has been deposited.
“No more can you put an empty envelop in and try to scam the bank or other people. That enhanced level of security will be great for customers and the confidence to use that machine more,” he assured.
The machines will be rolled out on a phased basis throughout the Caribbean. At present, Scotiabank has about 800 machines across the region and it is expected that 50 to 100 will be implemented per year, particularly in high traffic areas.
“Some of them are obviously just cash dispensers. We will leave them because they are doing a great job for us but we will replace the ATMs with the new machines as we go forward. Some of these machines are expected to arrive in Trinidad and Tobago later this year,” King said.
A trend in digital centres
Going digital is not a one business line initiative but a cultural transformation designed to enhance customer experience.
Stephen Bagnarol, senior vice-president and head, Caribbean south and east, Scotiabank, said construction of the bank’s second digital branch has already started.
“This is very exciting for us because it’s our flagship branch and construction should be finished within a couple of months,” he said.
But what does this mean, especially for customers?
Ignacio Nacho Deschamps, group head, international banking and digital transformation, Scotiabank, said the most important mandate is to secure a strong customer culture in the bank. This requires investment in technology and analytics and to build mobile solutions which make life easier for customers.
“The objectives are to make everything available in digital solutions so that the customers don’t have to come to a branch,” he said.
“They can do the same thing in the same way and in a way that suits them and that’s the objective of our digital transformation. It’s all about customer experience. It’s all about operational efficiency because it allows us to connect our operations in the Caribbean, in Latin America, in Canada in a much more closer way and to do that we really have to listen to customers,” Deschamps said.
Part of the methodology being used in T&T and across the group is surveys to accumulate much needed feedback.
“We issue every day thousands and thousands of surveys to get customer feedback, to understand how they react to these new systems. That allows us to quickly learn and adapt our financial services to our customers.
“So this is our commitment, to look at all the ways to improve customer experience and to take customer feedback to prioritise our investment,” Deschamps added, citing the bank’s five digital factories in Canada, Mexico, Peru, Chile and Columbia.
“We have been able to attract 700 professionals to our digital teams. Almost 40 per cent are new to the bank and come from the non-banking industries such as technology companies like Facebook, Mercado Libre, LinkedIn and others,” he said.
He said the factories also work as a network, leveraging best practices across the bank.