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SunTrust Bank opens new branch with biometric safety deposit box


SunTrust Bank recently opened a new branch in Atlanta that features a fully automated safe deposit box system that allows users to securely store valuables and access them using debit/credit cards, a pin number and a biometric hand scan.

Called SafeStore Auto, the company says it is the first of its kind to be used by a financial institution in the United States. The system was developed over the last year by SunTrust and Hamilton Safe, which built the system.

The companies collaborated on the project to find the right location to test the device, as well as brainstorm other locations to deploy the robotic safe box in the near future.

The technology has multiple layers of identity verification, starting with the swiping of a debit/credit card and entering a pin number to access a private room, followed by another card swipe and pin number process.

The system allows you to either use the same pin as your debit/credit card, or a different code. The final step is a biometric hand scan that confirms the safe box owner’s identity. Once the person’s hand is correctly scanned, the safe deposit box is automatically delivered to the private room and he or her she can use a key to open the box.

“It is the first of its kind to be installed by a financial institution in the United States. The technology is already used in Europe, the Middle East and Asia,” says Tom McDermott, senior vice president retail channel, for SunTrust Bank. “We are constantly looking at new technology and the feasibility it has for our clients and our branch network,”

Research has supported the notion that customers are seeking more self-service opportunities, says McDermott, adding that the new system is both easier to access and offers greater security than a regular safe box.

He says the technology should “improve the overall branch experience, and provide options to deploy a safe deposit system in smaller branch formats and expand safe deposit boxes in existing locations where we have maximized capacity in existing full size bank safes”.

Currently, there are no set plans in place for when SafeStore Auto will expand to other SunTrust Bank locations.

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