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The new First National Bank and Trust Building in Bismarck, N.D., nears completion. IMAGE: FIRST NATIONAL BANK & TRUST

Construction corner: First International Bank and Trust’s new building leverages next-gen technology

BISMARCK, N.D. – It’s a bank. In a building.

But there the resemblance between a traditional bank and 1st International Bank & Trust’s new six-story building in Bismarck ends.

The biggest change is the one customers will notice as soon as they enter, said Dave Mason, Bismarck president for the bank.

“There’s no teller line,” Mason said.

“Teller transactions are happening less and less often; people are banking on their phones, and so on.

“So instead, we have personal bankers,” whom customers will find sitting at individual pods pr work stations throughout the lobby.

“The personal bankers can do teller transactions. But they also can deal with new accounts, and they can do consumer lending, too.”

The cash recycler at each pod is a key piece of technology that has enabled this change. Sort of a SuperATM for bankers, a cash recycler can not only accept and dispense cash, but also count, authenticate and sort it, saving tellers those time-consuming and error-prone tasks.

Each machine also serves as a compact but secure vault.

The net result is that tellers no longer need to keep cash drawers. So, they now can both move freely around the room and sit or stand side-by-side with customers. They don’t have to carry out all transactions over barriers of countertops and glass.

Speaking of SuperATMs, another version is at the bank for customer use. They are ITMs or interactive teller machines – “kind of like an ATM that has FaceTime,” Mason said.

ITMs are ATMs with two-way video. “So you can hit a button, and a person in our call center can get on the screen with you and answer questions,” Mason said.

Notably, “this gives you the chance to have this interaction after regular banking hours, because our call center stays open longer than our bank lobby does.”

Then there’s the “smart glass” that covers the building’s south side and changes tint at the touch of a button. But to learn more about it, you’ll have to read the story on what’s new in office design on Page 20 in this issue.  

To sum all of these the changes up, “they make for a much different feel as you walk through the building than you’d get in a traditional bank,” Mason said.

Tom Dennis

Editor, Prairie Business