LOWVILLE — Northern Credit Union is bringing its drive-in teller experience into the 21st century.

The local branch will be retiring the pneumatic tubes that have allowed customers to send their transactions to bank tellers behind the windows at facilities around the country with a dramatic whoosh for decades.

Proposed changes to the 5801 Number Four Rd. location to accommodate three personal teller machines, or PTMs, were approved by the Lewis County Planning Board in their meeting this month.

PTMs throughout all of the Northern branches connect customers to tellers standing-by during normal business hours at the Marcy Relationship Center in the Marcy Building, Watertown, via video call rather than tellers at the local branch.

“There’s greater efficiency and no job loss,” said Associate Vice President of Marketing Alexa Bennett. “It will be the same friendly people, the same friendly faces. Even more friendly faces.”

The services provided by the video chat tellers, however, are much the same as those inside the branch or currently provided via the tubes.

Member relationship specialist at the Lowville branch, Tim Malmin, said customers are starting to warm up to the PTM that’s been in the branch’s lobby for the past two months to allow people an opportunity to get used to the technology before the transition happens.

“You can make deposits, both cash or checks, make loan or mortgage payments, take out money,” he said while demonstrating the PTM. “The only things that can’t be done through the new system that could with the tube are printing out money orders or statements and customers being able to deposit rolls of coins.”

For those services, customers will need to go inside the branch once the PTMs are in place.

The machine can, however, accept a stack of up to 30 bills or checks for deposit, eliminating the need to put in one bill or check at a time.

For privacy purposes, transactions can be performed over the speaker or by picking up a hand set attached to the machine.

Receipts can be generated by the PTM or customers can opt to have their receipts emailed to them.

Outside of banking hours, the PTMs work like a traditional ATM, Mr. Malmin said.

The intent of the video teller services provided by the PTMs is to help people avoid standing in line for basic services inside the branch and provide faster service than the pneumatic tube system currently in place.

“The target with these units is more, quicker transactional services,” Ms. Bennett said.

The addition of the machines in their branches over the past few years has doubled the size of the Marcy team according to Ms. Bennett, and no local positions have been eliminated.

Because the PTMs are larger than the tube towers already in place, the bank will be expanding the existing drive-thru area to accommodate three full PTM stations in a staggered layout, rather than having the machines in a straight line across the space.

With the planning board approval, the machines will be ordered and the architect company, PHZ Architects out of Camillus, will be moving the process forward, although Ms. Bennett said there is not yet a specific time frame in place for the transition.

Northern Credit Union currently employs about 114 people around the north country, Ms. Bennett said.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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