Fact Checked

What is a Branch Automation?

G. Wiesen
G. Wiesen

Branch automation is, generally, the process of increasing mechanization within the branch of a bank or at a bank location. This has traditionally involved the use of machines and computer systems such as automated teller machines (ATMs) that allow customers to utilize self-service options rather than interactions with people. Such automation can sometimes be resisted by customers or viewed as a reduction in personal attention from those employed by the bank. Branch automation, however, typically increases the amount of time and effort tellers and other branch employees can spend with customers, as it reduces time spent on simpler transactions.

The process of branch automation usually begins at a corporate level for most banks, and the decision to increase the use of computers and automated machines within the branches of the bank. In some areas this process can be tested at one or two locations before being implemented on a wider scale, which allows for bugs in the system to be found more quickly and can work to ensure customer satisfaction before broader implementation. While branch automation often implies the incorporation of ATMs and similar machines into a bank branch, it can also include greater use of computers and networks or the Internet to improve services offered by the bank.

ATMs and mobile banking are two kinds of automation for bank branches.
ATMs and mobile banking are two kinds of automation for bank branches.

For example, a bank might use branch automation to make the process of applying for and receiving a loan faster and easier for customers. This could include anything from simply using computers to process applications faster and reduce paperwork, to having kiosks that allow customers with an account to more quickly enter an application for a loan without consulting with a staff member. The incorporation of ATMs into banks through branch automation has been resisted in some areas, but typically proves to increase customer service and time available to human tellers for working with customers.

When simple tasks, such as straightforward deposits and withdrawals, can be handled by machines, then the more complex tasks can be left to employees. By reducing the amount of work that tellers may typically be expected to handle, branch automation can increase the amount of time that tellers have to work with bank members. This generally leads to greater customer satisfaction and an increased chance for customers to recommend the bank to others. Bank automation can also provide services to customers even outside of regular banking hours and on holidays, through the use of systems such as ATMs at external locations.

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Discussion Comments


I worked in a bank when ATM's were first introduced. Many people were not very excited about them and had a hard time learning how to use them. Some customers even refused to learn how because it was something they just didn't trust.

Just like the introduction of ATM's, any kind of bank automation will be met with resistance for some people.

While so many automation companies have replaced people jobs with machines, it is something that I am getting more used to. Just because I am getting used to it, doesn't mean I really like it,or think it is always the best way to go.


I feel comfortable using an ATM to deposit and withdraw money, but that is about the extent of it. Any other time I am dealing with things at the bank, I want to meet with someone face to face.

I have a hard time imaging going to a kiosk to apply for a loan. I know that this may be similar to filling out an application for a credit card, but I would still prefer to leave my information with someone in person.

While there are some companies where increasing business automation might be a good idea, when it comes to people and their money, I don't think it would work for most.


@lonelygod - Do you really think that losing jobs to a machine is all that great? Is the convenience of branch automation really worth putting a bunch of people out of work?

While I admit service at an ATM is much faster than going and speaking to an actual person, I also value actually having a relationship with the people at my bank. It seems like a thing of the past actually knowing who you bank with, and that makes me feel really sad.

I think that too much of our society is obsessed with being the fastest and not having to deal with people. I personally would like to speak with someone who will listen, rather than deal with machine that can only understand ones and zeroes.


I was thrilled when my bank started to bring in branch automation. I was one of those people that really hated having to stand in line just to do something simple like pay a bill or cash a check.

Nowadays I never go to a teller unless something has gone wrong with my bank account because there is pretty much nothing I can't do through our ATMs.

Plus, with the growing popularity of online banking I believe that bank tellers will be a thing of the past in a few years. Already my local branch has cut back on its hours and staff. I think that the fewer people we need to see for simple matters the better. I will take convenience over "customer service" any day.

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    • ATMs and mobile banking are two kinds of automation for bank branches.
      By: Denys Prykhodov
      ATMs and mobile banking are two kinds of automation for bank branches.