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How the Complexity of ITM Servicing Adds to CIT Vulnerability

byLowers & Associates | September 27, 2018

The ITM (sometimes called VTM for video teller machines) has added a new dimension to modern banking. These machines take advantage of digital networking capabilities to expand the range of customer services that can be handled through remote machines, with or without collocated bank employees to monitor or assist in the process.

They can distribute a wider range of cash, including coins in many cases; allow for verification of the customer’s identity via scanning or video; support a wider range of transactions, including opening and managing accounts; and permit interactive conversations between the customer and a remotely located bank employee.

As banks have experimented with ways to integrate ITMs into their business models, CIT carriers have had to adapt to the new technologies and capabilities in order to continue to fulfill their substantial role in cash management. ITMs and the locations they occupy require changes in operating and risk management procedures. Carriers often need to spend more time on each ITM service visit, as compared to ATM service, given the change in the complexity and cash profile of these machines.

ITMs are more complex to service than ATMs, and this means more risk.

The fact that there is a risk of crime in CIT is obvious. But the ITMs may increase that risk due to the increased complexity of servicing them. There are three main dimensions of vulnerability to consider.

1. Time to service

It takes longer to service an ITM, and time equates with opportunity in the criminal mind. The complexity of ITM servicing means longer service times and a longer window of criminal opportunity when guards are vulnerable. There are a variety of ways robbers attack a CIT employee on the job, but reports show a remarkable amount of consistency regarding one criminal ‘opportunity’ in particular: the moments when the ATM or ITM is being serviced.

Consider a typical deposit image ATM with a total service time of 12-15 minutes to complete the cash swap, cash deposit pull, imaged check retrieval, receipt paper change, captured card processing, etc. with the management of three receipts and typically one or two denominations.

In comparison, ITM service time extends to 18-22 minutes with additional bagging procedures, management of coin, additional denominations inclusive of $100 notes, and up to eleven receipts to manage. This level of exposure and service time increases even further when you consider the security impacts of servicing ITMs in drive through lanes where ITMs are stacked or back to back with one another.

2. Complexity of the service

The service routines just described are inherently complex. But it isn’t just the number of them and the time they take that is at issue. They present new problems to carrier personnel that demand more knowledge and more attention. The complexity draws the mental focus of the service tech into the task at hand, and therefore away from the environment. The focus of attention away from the big picture increases vulnerability.

3. Location of the ITMs

One essential benefit of ITMs to a bank is that they can substitute for on-site humans. This fact also means they are often located in places where there are no “eyes on the street” to observe emerging situations and call for help. The basic premise of crime prevention through environmental design is that being visible to many people makes an opportunity riskier to the would-be criminal, and therefore less likely to happen. It’s not easy to make fundamental changes in the built environment, but it is important to evaluate where the risks occur and try to identify steps to mitigate them.

Delve into the topic of ITM risks in our latest whitepaper, A CIT Carrier’s Guide to Building Your ITM Program.


Lowers & Associates provides comprehensive enterprise risk management solutions to organizations operating in high-risk, highly-regulated environments and organizations that value risk mitigation.
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