Video teller machines are viable service delivery options that should be considered when the NCUA considers whether to grant charter expansions, NAFCU argued in a letter sent this week to Chairman Debbie Matz.
The trade group sent the letter to Matz, and copied Board Members Gigi Hyland and Michael Fryzel, to ask the regulators to not confuse the machines – which provide a live link to a teller in a remote location – with ATMs.
The machines, which often are operated with extended night and weekend hours, are a cost-effective way to expand services to existing members and when adding SEGs and underserved areas, NAFCU said.
“NAFCU believes video-teller machines are great new categories of service facilities as technology advances. Accordingly, we would strongly urge NCUA to ensure that when it approves charter expansions, its staff takes into consideration all new technologies that fit into NCUA’s definitions of service facilities,” said the letter from NAFCU President/CEO Fred Becker.
That definition, in part, defines a service facility as “a place where shares are accepted for members’ accounts . . . [including] a credit union-owned electronic facility that meets, at a minimum, [the] requirements” of accepting loan applications, disbursing loans, or operating on a regularly scheduled weekly basis.”
“Video teller machines such as those described above clearly fall within the four corners of NCUA’s definition of a service facility,” Becker said.
“I would also note that video-teller machines serve to reduce branch operating costs and increase sales by allowing branch employees to focus on selling loans, mortgages and other products. These machines can reduce a credit union’s real-estate costs because they take up far less room than a row of teller windows. Further, they decrease the risk of exposure of tellers to criminal activity,” his letter said.
Several credit unions now use the machines, including the $756 million Mid-Hudson Valley FCU in Kingston, N.Y., and the $2.1 billion Coastal FCU in Raleigh, N.C., NAFCU pointed out. Other users include American Heritage FCU in Philadelphia and Five County Credit Union in Bath, Maine, which put one in a Walmart.