Will Technology Replace Bank Tellers?

Like many people, I do most of my banking through devices, and I am so thankful that technology exists to make it so! However, while there's a lot we can do on our phones, computers and bank kiosks, bank tellers aren't going away completely. Here’s why:

1. We are living in a world with many co-existing generations, and in my experience people are creatures of habit. As a bank teller, I witnessed the same people coming into the branch daily and weekly at the same times to conduct the same transactions. While they could have selected other means for conducting their banking transactions, these are people who just love coming in to see their favorite teller, swing by to speak with the bank manager and just make the rounds. It's part of their daily routine.

2. There are people who love this job. As a bank teller, I met smart women and men who were offered to move up into office jobs as promotions and they declined. They loved their daily engagement with the customers and they loved knowing everyone in town. The customers love them, too.

3. Customers need to know they can talk to someone who knows them and truly understands the unique intricacies of their financial lives.

4. As USA Today recently reported, "With the share of people using mobile banking continuing to grow, the number of bank tellers is expected to decline over the next few years, but not drastically. The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates a nearly 8 percent decrease in their numbers from 2014 to 2024, from 520,000 to 480,000."

5. Millennials value relationships with their banks more than many think. A 2016 study by management consulting firm Bain & Company found that 84 percent of bank customers ages 18 to 34 reported having gone to a teller in the previous quarter, not far behind the 92 percent of respondents 65 and older who did so.

6. While mobile banking apps are a big focus for banks, this means the role of the bank teller is changing. In fact, the bank teller is becoming a more well-rounded role as a customer service representative and bank ambassador. The bank teller now needs to be well-versed in all banking products and offerings. They may even respond to texts and online questions. Think Genius Bar rep!

So while technologies such as chatbots can maintain and increase online engagement and deal with overloaded websites, they can't replace the high-touch, human-to-human interactions that banks need to keep fostering with clients through seasoned reps at branches. Relationships matter just as much as investing in the best technologies, so bank tellers can sit tight and keep investing in their growth as star representatives.

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