NCR Corp. is rolling out the devices, which some industry experts call an ATM on steroids, "at an opportune time as national and regional banks abandon their least profitable locations in the wake of the financial crisis. In the banking industry that typically means those with the least foot traffic — rural banks — and those in high-crime areas," Epstein writes. NCR "estimates the potential market for video-enabled interactive tellers at $4 billion. It had 80 banks in the U.S. and Canada signed up as customers as of March 19 and about 400 interactive teller machines in service. It's sold more than 1,000 units since launching the new product in February 2012."
While critics say the machines could eliminate more than 100,000 bank-teller jobs in the U.S., 20 percent of such positions, advocates say the machines are exactly what remote areas need, Epstein reports. James Johnson, chief operations officer of PCSB Bank in Clarinda, Iowa, 85 miles from the closest metro area (Omaha), told Epstein, "We've bought into the idea that this is the future of community banking. As rural populations decline it becomes more and more difficult to maintain a traditional brick-and-mortar facility in them, but it's very possible with this technology. This is our solution to the problem." (Read more) (PCSB video)