Wells Fargo has long been an early adopter of new ATM technology — it was the first bank to convert paper check deposits to images, and last year became one of the first banks to allow simultaneous "mixed media" deposits of cash and checks.

It recently finished one of its older projects — allowing "no envelope" deposits at all 12,000 of its ATMs, an upgrade that took the better part of the past decade. The end of the migration means the entire fleet is enabled to sort, count, verify and make cash deposits available for immediate use. The bank classifies the ATM check deposits made by 9 PM as "same day" deposits, in effect lengthening the banking day.

As the bank passed that milestone, ATM chief Alicia Moore spoke with BTN about the other capabilities the bank has added to its huge ATM network, advancements that are designed to improve the machines' ability to work in concert with other channels.

The key component in the strategy is the ability to link ATMs to an internal centralized customer relationship management system and expanding data management system that's allowed the bank to automatically personalize the user experience, sign up for text banking, enhance financial management tools and more tightly integrate the online and ATM experience.

BTN: What is the current mix of single slot and dual slot ATMs in your network? And how many of the ATMs allow check and cash to be intermingled?
Moore: For the most part they are single slot, except for a few machines in Alaska. About 2,500 of them are also 'mixed media' ATMs, which allow checks and cash together to be deposited in the single slot. That's designed to make it easier for the customer. Separating checks and cash at the ATM isn't a hard thing to do, but it's one more thing for customers to have to worry about.

BTN: Who's providing your ATMs?
Moore: The mixed media ATMs are provided by NCR [Wells worked with NCR on the mixed media ATM development], while the rest of the single-slot ATMs are provided by Wincor Nixdorf.

BTN: How is ATM maintenance handled? And is there a concern over jams in the single slot machines, which would lack the 'backup' of the second slot?
Moore: All of the ATMs are managed centrally and linked remotely to our IPS [internet processing system]. This internally built software can view the performance and health of the ATMs and can often make fixes remotely, while in other cases we dispatch a technician. We have not seen a difference in performance in single slot ATMs versus dual slot ATMs.

BTN: Do you have plans to expand mixed-media ATMs?
Moore: Our strategy is to refresh the network at regular intervals. And as part of our refresh strategy, we always invest in the best ATM technology on the market at that time.

BTN: As mobile and web banking mature, how can these channels work as a companion to the ATM, rather than an alternative?
Moore: A lot of customers use ATMs as a primary channel, but also use most other channels as well, and we can link the channels together as part of the same transaction. For example, most people want to obtain a receipt of an ATM transaction for their records, but don't really want to have to print the receipt. By linking ATMs to the internet processing system we can give consumers the option of having the receipt sent securely to their email, or to their Wellsfargo.com inbox, where they can view the receipt when they log into our site on a PC or handset [Wells is one of the few banks with this capability].

BTN: How does this help you build cross-channel relationships?
Moore: On the ATM, you can now sign up for text banking and make updates to your online banking account, such as the nicknames or phone numbers associated with the account. The CRM system we use to support the ATMs is tapped into by all of the channels.

BTN: What kinds of services have you introduced recently that have been result of technology advances, such as linking financial management and CRM tools remotely to the ATM?
Moore: For one, we can provide relevant messaging via the ATM about their current banking relationship, and the various ways in which we can serve consumers by offering new products or services that are tailored specifically to the user's relationship. We are using this information to make the overall ATM usage experience easier for users. For years, banks have allowed customers to set their favorite transactions at ATMs, which appear as an option — if you always take $50 in cash out, you can choose to have that appear on screen as your "favorite." But what we've found is that customers don't really want to set those preferences on their own, and sometimes those preferences change. So we can set it for them through a link to that customers' financial relationship.

BTN: How does that work?
Moore: We look at the transaction volume, analyze what types of transactions the customer executes the most, and offer those as the most common or favorite transactions. We learn about the customer's behavior and present that as part of the on-screen interface as an automatic option. The analysis doesn't happen at the ATM level, but rather at the host level [an internally constructed database]. When the customer swipes his or her card into the machine, that ID information makes the trip back to the host, where those preferences and history are loaded on the spot and sent back to the ATM. We can also load other preferences such as preferred language in the same manner.