Banks are replacing human tellers with bots to avoid robberies

Reporter: Anika Henanger
Suspected bank robber slips note to teller. (Credit: WINK News)
Suspected bank robber slips note to teller. (Credit: WINK News)

How do you stop a bank robber?

Banks now have a plan to put suspected bank robbers, like Anthony Masters, out of business. Investigators said Masters slipped a note and threatened bank tellers at four different locations.

Banks are slowly rolling out new technology they believe will stop robbers. But their plan will affect how you get your money.

The modern-day Bonnie and Clyde likely would not make it far, even at banks just off of Del Prado.

Pamella Seay, an attorney and professor of Justice Studies at Florida Gulf Coast University said current technology allows banks to see what happens and catches the crook almost every time.

After a string of bank robberies in Southwest Florida, security cameras nailed a serial bank robber.

But even with all the technology, the robbers used an old school method. Nearly every occurrence, the thief slipped a note threatening a teller. Some banks, like the one William Ford visits, have only one associate to help while you use screens.

“It’s kind of like that there’s a live person in the bank,” Ford said, “but you’re talking to them via video screen.”

HSBC Bank in Miami unveiled Pepper, a bank bot, who can tell you how to sign up for a credit card and much more.

“You can’t threaten a robot,” Seay said. “If you have a virtual teller and they receive a note, are they going to read a note? No.”

While the technology is often less vulnerable than a human to theft, customers like Sandra Hetzel use physical banks for the interaction.

“It’s more personable,” Hetzel said. “You get to meet people, get to know who’s handling your money. It could help prevent some of these old-school robberies, but it loses that personal touch that some of these banks and the people want to have.”

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