Automation rules: Bank of America opens 3 employee-free branches


These branches allow use of ATMs and video conferences with employees at other branches.


Automation is undoubtedly sweeping away a few jobs from across sectors, and taking this a step ahead, the banking sector is especially making good use of automation and AI. ICICI bank recently deployed software robotics to automate, regulate and perform tasks of high density and volume that need to be carried out over multiple applications, while increasing productivity.

Now, Bank of America Corp has reportedly opened three completely automated branches over the past month, where customers can use ATMs and have video conferences with employees at other branches.

While most US banks are cutting costs and reducing their overall branch count, Bank of America is getting technology to overcome the challenge without actually cutting down the number of branches extensively. It is even looking at opening new branches in select markets.

However, the new branches are typically smaller, employ more technology, and are aimed at selling mortgages, credit cards and auto loans rather than simple transactions, such as cashing checks.

Apparently, there is one completely automated branch in Minneapolis and one in Denver, both of which are relatively new markets for the bank’s consumer business. Saving space and infrastructure costs to the company, they are about a quarter of the size of a typical branch.

The new branches were mentioned briefly by Dean Athanasia, co-head of Bank of America’s consumer banking unit, during a question and answer session at an investor conference on 7 February, but he did not provide details.

While the bank will be opening 50 to 60 new branches over the next year, at the same time, it will also be closing branches in certain markets. Therefore, the new branches do not represent a net increase.

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