COLUMBUS, Ga. — The merging of area Wachovia banks into the Wells Fargo system is taking another step forward with next-generation automated teller machines being installed in local branches.
"For our customers, it's a huge investment back to the market," said Chad Gregory, community bank president in Columbus, on Monday. "The technology's far beyond what we have today. Plus, there's an environmentally friendly component to it."
The new ATMs feature technology that lets customers deposit stacks of cash (up to 50 bills) and checks (up to 30), view them on a screen, then receive an image printout within seconds, Gregory said.
There's no need for deposit slips or envelopes. Wells Fargo estimates it has saved 460 tons of paper companywide — equivalent to more than 8,300 trees — since rolling out the new machines earlier this year.
San Francisco-based Wells Fargo purchased Charlotte, N.C.-based Wachovia through a government-orchestrated deal in December 2008 amid the national financial crisis.
Georgia is the first state in the eastern U.S. to receive the intelligent ATMs. None of the new equipment is manufactured by NCR Corp., which opened an ATM assembly plant in Columbus in late October.
That will change, however, in early 2010. NCR has landed a contract with Wells Fargo to make the equipment, although the first shipments out of Columbus are headed for banks in Colorado, said NCR spokesman Jeff Dudash.
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