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Are Cash Recyclers Right for My Bank or Credit Union?

October 10, 2022

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It depends. Without question, there are no two financial institutions exactly alike; for that matter, there are no two branches exactly alike. Determining whether or not your organization will benefit from teller cash recycling is all about understanding your data and branch objectives.

When implemented appropriately, cash recycling:

  • Improves teller efficiency
  • Reduces artificial staffing requirements driven by processes like dual cash control
  • Gives your staff more time to engage with customers or members

But to ensure successful implementation, it is imperative to review your organizational goals, branch characteristics and reengineer your processes.

Definitive Guide of Cash Recyclers

Identifying the exact solution takes significant analysis, but there are a few basic questions you can use as a litmus test to determine if cash recycling is right for you.

Are you currently working to lower the operating costs of your branches – specifically labor costs?

Branch transactions may be falling but you still need to handle cash. How do you staff for that? Cash recycling technology makes traditional cash-related processes much more efficient.  Opening procedures, vault buy/sell events, and customer interactions are all affected by automation.

The after effect is that by eliminating manual tasks, employees can focus their time and energy on improving the customer experience. We’ve found that this may mean you can operate with fewer employees or change the structural makeup of your workforce—full time vs. part time.  As a general rule, you can expect two tellers working with a cash recycler to do the work of three in a traditional model.   (However, we’ve had clients purchase cash recyclers who have had to add staff because their traffic increased.)

Have you or do you plan to implement the “universal banker” model – one where all branch employees can fill a variety of value-added roles?

The universal banker is the jack-of-all trades in the branch, capable of delivering a variety of services, not just transactions. You will have to train them how to offer a credit or debit card, a home equity loan and more. But think of the return on that investment. In essence, every staff member in your branch will become not only be able to recognize and develop opportunities but they can make that sale happen.  The days of staffing with a few highly trained employees and an army of tellers for transactions, are numbered, if not already over.

An oft-overlooked aspect of implementing the universal banker model is the effect it has on human resources.  The primary skill set needed for a teller changes.  HR will need to focus more on finding team members that have sales-oriented or outgoing personality traits rather than concentrating on counting cash.  An added benefit of this is that what used to be a fireable offense, such as drawer shortages, are non-existent.  You can have the nicest, most personable employee, but if they have problems counting cash they won’t be working at the bank for long.  This is no longer a concern.

Is branch remodeling or renovation currently being considered?

Many of our clients have seized the moment of remodeling and renovating their branch as the time to upgrade their technology. That’s kind of the point of renovation, to make things better and more efficient. Adding cash recycling technology is not only a good business decision it makes a statement to your customers. Do you want to be the guy with the flip phone or the smart phone? When you’re investing in a new look style and design matters. However cash automation technology is not fluff. It is a way to reduce inefficiencies and increase revenue. That’s a smart justification for a new look.

If you’re not considering a renovation, don’t despair.  Most of the time cash recyclers can be installed without costly changes to the teller line.

Are you looking to develop a sales- focused culture in your branches in an effort to grow your business?

A customer that enters the branch today is much more important than they were ten years ago. Branch transactions are declining and banks realize the implications to the bottom line.

Bankers are rethinking the traditional branch model and placing an increased emphasis on customer service.  We’re seeing smaller footprint branches, universal banker focused designs, and much more emphasis being placed on tellers selling bank’s more profitable products.

Cash recycling technology changes the customer (and teller) experience.  During a traditional cash transaction, a teller will count the cash two to three times coming in or going out.  It’s during these situations where a teller is trying to count money and converse with a customer, which can, and should, be improved.  By automating the traditional manual cash counting process, tellers can give full attention to the customer and focus on one of two actions:  building a stronger rapport with the customer or offer services that bring a higher-value profitability to the bank.

Are you interested in installing new technology that tightens cash control and enhances the security of cash storage?

Let’s get this straight right away—cash recyclers aren’t new technology.  They’ve been used to control cash operations in banks and credit unions around the world for more than ten years.   However, during that span, there have been significant technological improvements made to the machines that have improved performance, usability, and security.

When reviewing cash recyclers as it relates to security there’s a couple of factors to consider: the physical security of the cash in the machine and the process improvements that occur outside of it.

Most cash recyclers on the market are placed in secure, rated safes—either UL291 or Cen III.  This physical barrier allows for overnight storage of banknotes in a secure environment without having to remove the cash and place it in a vault.   This also shortens start- and end-of-day cash processes for tellers and managers.

A second factor to consider is how standard cash processes change and become more secure.  By automating everyday customer cash transactions, counting errors are removed.  Additionally, it increases branch and cash security by dramatically reducing vault buy/sell events.   These events traditionally take a teller and a manager away from their stations for a dual control activity that is not a customer oriented action.  Of note, it generally happens when the lobby is at its busiest.

Chances are, if you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, you need to explore the potential benefits of adding teller cash recyclers to your financial institution.

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