Robots greet customers at world’s first personless bank

A bank has opened a branch run entirely by robots, who greet customers and manage accounts, in a world first.

The Shanghai branch of the China Construction Bank (CCB) is run purely by technology – with virtual reality, artificial intelligence and facial recognition all playing a part.

CCB, which is China’s second biggest bank, already has 360 branches across the city, with smart machines appealing to its tech-savvy customers and slashing of staff costs making it a winner for bank bosses.

According to the South China Morning Post walking through the front door at the Jiujiang Road branch, users are met by a friendly looking humanoid that answers questions using voice recognition.

The store is equipped with several smart automated tellers capable of a range of services, including account opening, money transfer, foreign exchange, gold investment and the issue of wealth management products.

The bank says the new set up will be able to handle 90 per cent of the cash and non-cash demands of traditional banking outlets.

And for wealthy client in need of human help, a private room is reserved for remote chats with client relationship managers – via video link.

He Fei, a senior researcher at Bank of Communications in Shanghai, said the unstaffed branch will act as a good test ground to garner customer opinion.

“Unstaffed services can solve repeated and standard demands from mass clients.

"But human bankers are still needed to offer professional advices, to serve the complicated and personalised demands, for instance by wealthy clients,” he said.

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