Cash In The Rain

It's a bitterly cold Saturday in March. The rain has now turned to sleet and the wind whips it into the faces of the shoppers as they hurry along Cheltenham's High Street. People move quickly into the next brightly lit and warm shop to avoid the artic blasts.

Except, that is, for those stood outside of Barclays and other banks, where they are queuing in the rain to use the ATMs. Odd isn't it? Especially since most banks are now open on Saturday. And Barclays has recently completed an excellent restoration and refurbishment of their beautiful building.

So why don't they? Intrigued I watched as, time after time, people came to the "hole in the wall" and stood in the rain to withdraw money. Shivering I stepped inside the branch which, sure enough, was brightly lit, warm and welcoming. Barclays have done a great job with their new style branch layouts. There were two ATMs in the self-service banking wall and beyond them a couple of tellers were chatting with customers and reaching across the counter to exchange documents. Here was an even more civilised way of withdrawing cash from my bank account.

Nobody Smiles At ATMs

"Could I withdraw some money" "Yes of course sir". Under the counter, I knew, was a Teller Cash Recycler from Talaris that provided automated and secure cash handling. That's why the bank has been able to remove the security glass screens. "Is there anything else I could help you with?" asks the teller, with a smile. Who doesn't smile back when that happens. Nobody smiles at an ATM. Half turning I check, and prompted by the question, I say "Well actually I was thinking about ..."

A minute or two later I walked out of the branch to the street where people were still stood in the rain using the "holes in the wall". Is it learnt behaviour? Like Pavlov's dogs? Have people become so conditioned that they expect to stand in the rain to withdraw money? "No no, I'm fine, I won't come inside, I don't mind getting wet; it's what I'm used to. I haven't been inside a bank branch in years..."

Talaris have now supplied over 2,000 TCRs to banks in the UK and it's starting to change the face of branch banking. The bandit screens are coming down and in the more open environment bank tellers are re-engaging with their customers face -to-face. And as for the customers? Well it feels good to be treated like one at last.