Magazine article American Banker

In the Branch, Tablets Mean Money

Magazine article American Banker

In the Branch, Tablets Mean Money

Article excerpt

Byline: Sean Sposito

It has the makings of a bad joke.

A small business owner walks into a bank branch and asks for a new checking account. But instead of a stack of paper, a teller pulls out a tablet.

It could be an Apple (AAPL) iPad. It might be a Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) Slate. It definitely has a touch screen.

The teller shows the customer several screens. The first is filled with information about business credit cards. The second is brimming with videos. The third outlines the bank's checking options. In the meantime that business owner, already an existing customer, can update her information without signing online -- perhaps even set up her bill payments. That's the promise of the tablet.

It incorporates electronic signatures. It's interactive. It's even paperless.

"To be able to do all of that without the paper, if the customer prefers it... there is your cost savings right there," says Nicole Sturgill, a research director in the retail banking and cards practice at CEB TowerGroup, at the company's annual conference in Boston. "This is a good reason to transform your branch workflow. It's a great time."

Microsoft (MSFT), which also offers its XBox Kinect and big-screen Surface devices for bank branches, is now pushing tablets on bankers.

"The future of the branch is not people just sitting behind a desk," says Mike Opal, an industry market development manager in the U.S. Financial Services unit of Microsoft. "You need the tablet. …

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