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ME Bank rolls out first video-conference kiosks

Summary: Telstra's Melbourne contact centre was the first to get ME Bank's virtual bank teller systems.

Josh Taylor

By Josh Taylor | March 6, 2013 -- 04:59 GMT (20:59 PST)

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By Josh Taylor | March 6, 2013 -- 04:59 GMT (20:59 PST)

Members Equity Bank has begun rolling out its virtual bank teller kiosks, starting in technology partner Telstra's Melbourne, Victoria, contact centre, as well as in Co-Op bookshops.

The bank, which is one of Australia's smaller banks with 250,000 customers, does not have any bank branches, and is looking to keep it that way. It is currently undertaking an AU$57 million technology transformation program that includes deploying mobile bankers and kiosks into the workplaces of its customers to act as a virtual branch that staff can use at any time.

The kiosks are built into the ATM and, using Cisco's telepresence technology, customers can call ME Bank staff and speak face-to-face

Late last year, the company flagged that it would trial at least six kiosks around the country between November and June.

Speaking at the Cisco Live! conference in Melbourne today, ME Bank's sales executive manager Ian Hendey said that the first unit had been deployed in January in Telstra's Melbourne contact centre, with the second and third deployed in Co-Op bookshops. One in Monash University in Melbourne and one in St Lucia in Brisbane, Queensland.

Despite the enthusiasm for the trial, Hendey said that it was still early days, and he wasn't sure whether it would be successful.

"To be honest, I don't know whether it will work or won't work, but I think that is the point of it," he said. "For us, this is a learning experience."

The advantage of putting the first kiosk in Telstra's contact centre was that the people working in that contact centre tend to be young and "very adaptable", Hendey said, and this culture might not be found elsewhere.

"We haven't put one in a nursing home, for example, which might cause a few more problems with take-up," he said.

The trial had been extended to between 7 and 10 locations, but the company was looking at possibly deploying its workplace banking into up to 200 places. In areas where workplace banking had been brought in, Hendey said that ME Bank had noticed a 30 percent increase in products being taken on by customers.

Telstra's general manager for Cisco collaboration and managed data networks, Paul Brauer said that the units are currently running over ADSL rather than fibre, and it was coping despite the use of telepresence.

"It's running over ADSL, which is quite amazing," he said "We're using standard definition, but it is keeping the costs low."

Josh Taylor travelled to Melbourne as a guest of Cisco.

Topics: Telstra, Cisco, Networking, Telework

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