First Citizens National Bank_Franklin_5_17_21

1304 Murfreesboro Road; Franklin, Tennessee; 37064

First Citizens National Bank attributes the impending closure of its Murfreesboro Road branch in Franklin to consolidation and plans to replace the entire branch with a cutting-edge ATM.

FirstCNB is opting to consolidate its Murfreesboro Road and Cool Springs locations because self-service fintech has reached an apex in use value and implementation for financial institutions at the forefront of the industry’s tech progress that it yields less than profitable redundancies with human resources. The Murfreesboro Road branch, to which access is rendered less convenient by traffic, will see its final day of operation on July 16, leaving only an ATM in its place — but no ordinary ATM by industry standards.

The new owner of that property will be doing renovations and has agreed to include work to install the new machine.

“In a way, technology is making traditional banking obsolete by the day,” FirstCNB Regional President David Hopkins told Homepage. “We have to constantly be prudent and evaluate how effective our branches are and where we have duplications in branches that are in fairly close proximity to each other. Today, most people that come in a bank have a purpose that they can’t solve through electronic means and through a drive-through ATM.”

Powered by Vynamic Transaction Automation developed by Diebold Nixdorf, the new ATM, called an in-line teller machine, will provide services many other ATMs do not in addition to the standard core functions such that there will be “very little lapse in service” at that location according to Hopkins. They will access deposits in real time and allow users to redistribute money across multiple accounts, and users will be able to pay bills at the Enhanced ATM with automated processing of electronic checks or by transferring cash-deposit funds. The new, enhanced ATM will also authorize and process credits and debits onsite.

Vynamic ATMs are part of a pilot program currently rolling out in Dyersburg at FirstCNB headquarters, a program projected to begin in June and end some time this summer. Franklin will see its first in place of the current branch later this year. In 2022, the bank expects to implement a wider rollout and enhance service functions further. Enhanced ATMs will be able to handle 80 percent of transactions, which brings machines closer in functionality to the mobile app.

“We can handle 98 percent of transactions through the mobile app, through the online banking channels,” FirstCNB President and COO Judy Long noted.

The Dyersburg-based bank views itself as a tech pioneer in finance and aims to keep it that way by being among the first to automate services that most banks have kept in the hands of human tellers. In tandem with the mobile app, this could challenge the value for human resources, yet Long highlighted human affinity for problem solving as the preservation of teller positions.

“Customers will still have the option of interaction with a real, live community banker at a bank location for assistance and resolution of any issues they may encounter,” Long said. “What [consumers] won’t be able to do, they can problem-solve it, and if they have a problem to solve with the bank, […] then there will be interaction that would go to the branch.”

Hopkins cited “duplication” as one of the most likely reasons for any branch closure for rival banks in Middle Tennessee — redundancy by proximity in an area. Even without updating ATM technology, FirstCNB’s peers still deem it fiscally irresponsible to uphold the same levels of market saturation when mobile apps and especially FirstCNB’s new, enhanced ATM do the vast majority of the work without consumers coming to a physical location. However, Long maintained automation still cannot supplant the human teller.

Relatedly, Long pointed out that FirstCNB is a community bank leading even the titans of industry in fintech application, recounting a banking conference in May 2021 in which she and colleagues were informed that FirstCNB was “at the forefront of technology,” emphasizing that “cutting-edge technology” were the exact words used.

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