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Diebold Inc. equipment will play a major role in the scheduled September opening of a Rhode Island bank branch equipped with technology designed to present a friendlier image and free customers from waiting in line. Westerly, R.I.-based Washington Trust Co. plans to open the 3,100-square-foot branch in downtown Providence, says B. Michael Rauh Jr., Washington Trust executive vice president of sales, service and delivery. The branch will feature the Diebold identiCenter, a self-service kiosk-queuing system. The identiCenter provides a menu of options that customers may discuss with the bank's customer-service representative, who acts both as a teller and financial consultant. "Instead of standing in line, staring at the back of someone's head, the identiCenter tells the customer the approximate time he will be seen," Rauh tells ATM&Debit News, a CardLine sister publication. The system directs customers to a lounge with leather chairs where they can wait for the next available representative. When a representative calls a customer's name to begin their meeting, the representative's computer screen displays the name and subject the customer registered to discuss upon entering, Rauh says. In the lounge, Diebold will deploy two ATMs–one a cash dispenser and the other a bulk-note accepting kiosk that takes checks and cash deposits. The kiosk also would enable customers to bank online. Customers who bring a laptop computer can plug the machine into one of a large number of outlets, Rauh says. Diebold also is installing an Express Cash Recycler between the teller stations. The recycler eliminates the need for the teller to count cash manually. The recycler also enables Washington Trust to lower the counter four inches and thus facilitate conversation between the representatives and customers, Rauh says. The cash recycler also eliminates the teller drawer to dissuade robberies, he adds.

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