Bank of America announced today that it is rolling out Cisco telepresence equipment to 500 banks across the US in a bid to ensure customers can talk to the right banking specialist.

Cisco’s CTS500 and EX90 video and collaboration products will enable customers, sometimes in remote locations, to interact with Bank of America small business bankers, home loans officers and financial solutions advisors.

The rollout follows a two-year trial in 85 branches that saw 10,000 interactions take place over Cisco’s video conferencing equipment.

Rob Auleback, Bank of America’s ATM channel and retail distribution executive, said: “Convenient access to help when, where and how a customer needs it is the cornerstone of how we serve our customers. We are able to bring our expertise closer to our customers with face-to-face interaction provided through our partnership with Cisco.”

Speaking at Cisco Live in San Francisco today, Tyler Johnson, SVP ATM/kiosk strategy and innovation at Bank of America, said 85 percent of the bank’s customers still want to visit a physical location when they buy products.

He added that demands in each Bank of America branch are different, adding that it doesn’t always make sense to put a wide range of specialists in each branch.

The Bank of America representative sits across the virtual desk from the customer, and the customer can have questions answered on the spot.

Johnson said that video conferencing offer customers “a very human experience”.  

The Cisco TelePresence System (CTS) 500 is a 32-inch monitor with camera, microphone and speakers. The EX90 is slightly smaller at 24-inches.