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SIOUX CITY — Heritage Bank is counting on its new hybrid ATM to make customers’ lives easier.

The new hybrid automatic teller machine, located at Heritage Bank Morningside branch, 4530 Singing Hills Blvd., provides a combination of old-fashioned customer service mixed with modern technology.

Heritage Bank replaced a traditional ATM with this new hybrid model in late October. In addition to performing standard ATM services, the hybrid also provides customers a chance to interact with a bank representative through a live video chat service, similar to using FaceTime or Skype.

Dave Brown, Heritage Bank market president, said the financial institution decided to invest in this newer model of ATM as a convenience to customers.

“Folks today — and it’s not just banking — they don’t want to come in during traditional banking hours and they don’t necessarily want to come into the branch, especially on a cold day like it is today,” he said. “We have a drive-up, but the hybrid, for us, is an additional convenience for customers.”

The hybrid ATM is available 24 hours a day, and the live customer service feature is available 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Friday and 8 a.m. to noon Saturday, which is longer than Heritage Bank’s lobby and drive-up teller hours.

Brown and Diane Hack, a Heritage Bank deposit and implementation specialist, noted the video customer service feature allows customers to access their account even if they don’t have their debit card with them but have proper identification. It also offers potential customers a chance to open an account directly at the ATM or simply seek assistance from a banking professional.

“What we see happening is people will start out using the assistance — and we’ll even go out there and show them and help them — but they’ll use the assistance of that teller through the live monitor and then over time they’re comfortable and won’t need that, they’ll just do it themselves without using anybody and always knowing that if they have a problem or a question that person is right there,” Brown said.

Heritage Bank, which has nine branches in Iowa — two in Sioux City — and four in Minnesota, also has rolled out the hybrid ATMs at banks in Alta and Holstein in the Hawkeye State as well as some branches in the Gopher State.

The customer service representatives that interact with all of the hybrid ATM users are currently operating out of the Willmar, Minnesota, branch to ensure the local bank tellers remain effective, Brown noted.

“They are taking care of people when they are walking in the door here or when they come to the drive-up, so we don’t want them to have to be distracted by having to take care of somebody at the ATM,” he said.

Down the line, Brown said he can imagine Heritage Bank setting up interactive teller modules at other branches.

While the video teller is the stand-out feature of the hybrid ATM, the device also offers a few other conveniences, such as being able to dispense proper change, with dollar bill denominations ranging from $1 to $100. the device also has a photo ID scanner and a touch screen interface.

Brown said implementing new technology that customers are comfortable with is something Heritage Bank strives for.

Brown and Hack agreed that customer feedback on the hybrid ATM has been positive, something Hack attributes to the device being extremely user-friendly.

“It’s easier than going to a self-serve checkout at a grocery store or at like a Target; it’s just that easy,” Hack said.

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