WINNIPEG, Manitoba – ATMs have often been blamed for decreasing human contact with bank personnel, making transactions cold and unfriendly. However, Vantis Credit Union is planning to change all that with video kiosks at its ATM sites. Live VCU representatives will respond to any of the 22,000 members asking questions in real-time at the kiosk. Likewise, applications and other information will be able to be transmitted via the Web. The two delivery methods, ATM and Web, will be rolled out at different times. The goal was to become more personalized as well as attract youth with the technology, according to Michel Audette, VCU CEO. He also felt that the technology would help serve VCU’s two, more rural branches in the north. VCU has a total of eight branches. To provide the new service VCU has entered into a partnership with Nortel, which provides what it calls, “The Expert Anywhere Contact Solution.” It is a Session Initiation Protocol for a multimedia system that allows for video, instant messaging and Web collaboration and can be used for Internet conferencing, telephony, events notification and instant messaging. The kiosks are less expensive than staffing each branch with experts in different services such as mortgages and investment products. Likewise it saves the member from having to go into a branch without sacrificing face-to-face service. The kiosks are part of an overall business strategy shift. Vantis and Nortel worked together to build a business case for the technology, a first-time application of a not-new technology. It is not considered a replacement of any current process, but a whole restructuring of the process, according to Nortel’s Roxann Swanson, vice president and general manager of multimedia applications, because it combines call centers with a Web strategy and presents itself to members in an entirely different way. Vantis CU is the result of a merger between two employee-based credit unions -Manitoba Hydro (Hy-Line) and Manitoba Telecom Services (Decibel) – in 2002. Both organizations grew successfully, building industry-wide reputations for product innovation and service excellence that VCU continues to follow. Changing to the new concept means a great deal of redesign, document imaging and review of content. Audette also sees economies in reducing paper flows. Testing of the new service will begin in April and it is hoped that video kiosks will be operational between September and October 2006, with Internet service being functional beginning sometime in 2007. -

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