Customers at the branch Washington Trust Co. plans to open in September in downtown Providence, R.I., will not have to stand in line while waiting to meet with a teller.
The branch will be equipped with a Diebold Inc. identiCenter, a self-service kiosk system with a queuing feature, according to B. Michael Rauh Jr., the Westerly, R.I., bank's executive vice president of sales, service, and delivery.
Customers will register at the identiCenter, which will ask them to indicate their reason for visiting the bank. The system then "tells the customer how long he has to wait to before being seen" by a customer service representative, who will act as both a teller and a financial consultant, Mr. Rauh said.
The branch will also use an automated teller machine that dispenses only cash; a kiosk that accepts bulk cash and check deposits and offers online banking capabilities; and an Express Cash Recycler, which automatically counts and verifies customer deposits and dispenses cash.
"Diebold is using its software and hardware to create a high-tech, high-touch office. Customers will be able to interact with the branch in a high-tech way," said Linda S. Perconti, Diebold's director of delivery channel solutions.
Four customer service representatives, instead of the usual eight tellers and customer service representatives, are expected to work in the Providence branch. The service representatives will be able to cash checks and assist customers with loan applications and other banking tasks.
A greeter, like those in Wal-Mart stores, "will explain to customers the technology that is available," Mr. Rauh said. "We're not doing away with personal service."
The branch will have a lounge with leather chairs and stools, wireless Internet service and electrical outlets, and television sets. The lounge may serve coffee, Mr. Rauh said, but there are two coffee shops across the street, so it may not be necessary.
The bank is installing two ATMs in the lounge: an Opteva 520 cash dispenser, and an Opteva 720 advanced-function lobby machine that can accept 30 checks in a single deposit, without envelopes.
When a customer is assigned to a service representative, their name appears on the representative's screen along with their reason for visiting the branch.
The Express Cash Recycler is a vault designed to eliminate the need for tellers to count cash manually and to use cash drawers.
That means Washington Trust can lower the service counter by 4 inches, which could make it easier for employees and customers to communicate, Mr. Rauh said.
Most of Washington Trust's 17 branches are in the suburbs.
The Providence branch is expected to attract office and professional workers who are comfortable with self-service technology, such as banking online, withdrawing cash, and depositing checks into ATMs.
Washington Trust expects the branch to serve as a learning center for customers. "Twenty-five percent of our checking account customers have an ATM card but don't use it," Mr. Rauh said. "We can show them how to use it here. The kiosk also can teach customers to bank online."
The branch also should help Washington Trust gauge how technology influences customer behavior. "If the kiosk succeeds in encouraging more customers to bank online, we will deploy kiosks at our other branches," Mr. Rauh said. "We're looking at kiosks to drive online banking