Mercantile Bank Pairs Virtual Teller with Touch-Screen Kiosk

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Bert and Ernie. Salt and pepper. Video-equipped ATMs and touch-screen kiosks?

Why, yes. Indeed, Mercantile Bank of Michigan in Grand Rapids is preparing to introduce a video-equipped ATM that will sit next to a touch-screen kiosk on the Grand Valley State University campus this week.

The reasons for including a touch-screen kiosk, which is powered by Micro Industries, next to a virtual teller are varied, but one reason includes explaining to patrons what the video-equipped ATM can do — as the functionality is new to the region.

But explaining the virtual teller isn't the only purpose of the touch-screen kiosk.

"We're trying to do a number of new things that [will] be customized to the situation," says John Schulte, senior vice president and CIO.

The question of what integrated content should be displayed on the kiosks is still in the development stages; Schulte says the bank is actively working with the university to decide. Current content ideas include campus event schedules, building information with interactive maps, and potentially an interactive bio and videos on William Seidman, a former FDIC chairman whose name is bestowed on one of the campus's buildings. Beyond those ideas, Schulte believes there are also opportunities for the kiosk to integrate with social media, though no plans have been finalized as of yet.

One social-related idea? Turning the kiosk into an interactive photo booth, as the bank has done in the past. In the Van Andel Arena, for example, MercBank once let Grand Rapids Griffins hockey fans take photos at its kiosk and overlay their images with that of a favorite hockey player. Then, participants could post their pictures to the bank's Facebook page or their own accounts, or email the images to themselves. During the event, Schulte says there was also the ability to integrate the fan images into the arena's scoreboard. In turn, the photos would be randomly displayed throughout the game.

No matter what content approach the bank ultimately takes on its campus kiosk, the idea behind the technology's existence is to market its brand by extending its physical footprint and capture new accounts, he says.

"We are not a branch-intense bank," says Schulte. "Customers don't come stumbling into the bank," he says.

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