Local credit union uses interactive teller machines

Posted August 6, 2013

— Automated teller machines – everyone knows what they are, but what about personal teller machines?

Like ATMs, the machines have cash dispensers and check scanners, but they also have a camera and a teller on the other end who can see and interact with customers.

Raleigh-based Coastal Federal Credit Union is the first financial institution in the world to use the kiosks at its 15 area branches, and Chief Executive Officer Chuck Purvis says the technology is cutting costs, time and crime.

"We're saving about 40 percent of our cost providing tellers than where were five years ago," he said Tuesday. "We're saving 40 percent on labor while we extend our hours 86 percent. That's a pretty good formula."

Purvis says that by centralizing tellers at the credit union's corporate office off Wake Forest Road, branches have been able to extend their hours from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day.

The goal, he says, is to have around-the-clock operations with bilingual tellers.

Coastal Federal Credit Union branches still have employees present to take care of financial needs such as loans and mortgages, but there are no tellers on site.

That, Purvis says, has proven, so far, to be a deterrent to robberies. Since the credit union completed its rollout several years ago, there have been no robberies.

"It's safer for members who are in the branch, because it's a machine to a would-be robber that walks in," Purvis said. "They don't see a teller line."

The prospect of safer banks and interactive banking machines is also attracting attention from financial institutions across the world, including Asia, the Middle East and Europe.

"We know that the major banks are working on projects to begin rolling out this technology," Purvis said. "It feels awesome. We know that we've got a four- to five-year advantage on all the other financial institutions."

The credit union, he says, has actually formed a company to commercialize the technology and hosts demonstrations each month that, on average, attract about 25 people from 8 to 10 financial institutions, including well-known ones like Bank of America.


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  • therealmjfox Aug 9, 2013

    I was a member of the credit union for over 25 years and left because of this change. I know a lot of other people who left as well, including many business owners --actually especially them because anything but the simplest transactions are painful with the PTMs. The fact that those members who are still left are happy isn't surprising, but they lost a lot of members and their branches now look like ghost towns.

    The credit union's new philosophy is that they don't want to deal with you, or touch any piece of paper that has anything to do with you. But they were also dishonest with their members during the transition.. for example they kept telling unhappy members that they could go to other branches to see real tellers, without disclosing their plan to go all-in. They also didn't disclose to their members their ownership of the company that makes the machines.

    Sadly, the once-great Coastal FCU has evolved into something no better than a commercial bank with a tax exemption.

  • Capt. Obvious Aug 8, 2013

    Best bank,credit union to work for period.

  • tiggerbeth Aug 8, 2013

    I've been a member of CFCU for 25 years and will NOT leave. After I got married my husband wanted to transfer all of my accounts to his bank (more branches), but I still have a checking and savings account, as well as my auto loan, at CFCU. LOVE them!

  • J-Hol Aug 8, 2013

    "I'm not sure why the article indicates that Coastal is the first bank in the world to use this technology. The story below is from Hudson Valley area in New York, back in April 2008."
    --Not a suprise. Coastal has actually been doing this for many years now. Don't know why WRAL is so behind on the story though.

    Ditto. I remember seeing this exact same thing at a bank in Chicago a LONG time ago. I mean like 10 years ago or maybe more. "First in the world" is a pretty bold claim, might want to check up on that before staking it out.

  • wolfpack32 Aug 8, 2013

    SECU is the best!

  • lstranch Aug 8, 2013

    jenforthewin, you are able to make monthly payments online for your car loan. We would love to talk to you offline and let us walk you through the process. If you'd like, please email me your name and best contact number at and we will be in contact with you shortly.

  • My Two Cents Aug 7, 2013

    I have had my accounts with CFCU for years and never had a problem. I don't mind the tellers, if they save money, so be it. I still feel im getting the attention I deserve.

  • praise1g1 Aug 7, 2013

    I've banked with Coastal for years now. Like others have said, this change has been in place for a while. I haven't had an issue. You pick up the receiver, the teller appears on the screen and you conduct your business just as if they were standing in front of you. I personally have not had any checks or cash jammed and I've made plenty of deposits. I did have a check not go through once, but the second try it went through just fine. I'm not saying technology is perfect as we know it is not but neither are humans. One particular institution is not for everyone but this one is for me.

  • jenforthewin Aug 7, 2013

    I went through one of these lines to withdraw money on behalf of my mom (in the passenger seat). I was totally prepared for it to be a positive experience, but it was horrible. But, she'll keep doing it since the ATM at her branch isn't a drive-thru, and she doesn't get around so well any more. And, I just got a car loan through CFCU, and can't pay the monthly payment online. What's up with that?

  • carthoughts Aug 7, 2013

    Agree with all the "State Employees > Coastal" comments, I switched years ago and have been incredibly happy ever since. Lack of branches and terrible customer service is why I left Coastal. Never had a single issue with SECU.