- Associated Press - Sunday, January 17, 2021

SOUTH SIOUX CITY, Neb. (AP) - Move over, traditional automated teller machines.

The Siouxland Federal Credit Union installed a set of five new interactive teller machines (ITMs) at its South Sioux City branch in November. The machines, which are staffed by bank tellers who appear on a screen, replace the bank’s drive-thru teller windows.

One of the ITMs is inside the lobby, while the other four are outside, where customers can drive up and use them. The branch still has face-to-face tellers inside the lobby, and the technology didn’t displace any Siouxland Federal employees.

Mike LaCroix, vice president of marketing and member experience at Siouxland Federal, told the Sioux City Journal that transactions at ITMs are quicker than at drive-thru teller windows — the time spent waiting around has gone down by eight or nine seconds on average.

Reactions from customers have been mixed.



“You think you’re going to get some positive and negative feedback, and you do. It’s just funny that you see some of the people that you would imagine would be resistant to it, are the ones that fall in love with it,” LaCroix said.

Siouxland Federal officials are still trying to determine when or whether other branches will get ITMs. “We’re getting ready to build a Floyd branch, a new branch out on Floyd Boulevard, and those will get ITMs,” LaCroix said.

LaCroix said COVID-19 was not the reason the credit union opted to adopt ITMs, which they’d been mulling since before the pandemic.

The machines feature a live teller on screen (the tellers work inside the Siouxland Federal building) and have somewhat the appearance of a late model ATM. They offer the same services as a teller window would without the pneumatic tubes, and can be used as an ATM if desired.

“It’s kind of like being at the teller window, really,” LaCroix said.

ATMs, which are different from ITMs in the sense that there is no person on the screen and the banking capabilities are somewhat limited, date back to the 1960s and are employed by virtually every bank. ITMs emerged within the last decade or so, and many banks have yet to implement the technology at their branches.

Banks may have some reason for taking the slow approach to adopting ITMs. The Credit Union Times, an industry publication, reported in March that 64 percent of bank customers still prefer an in-person interaction at a teller window.

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