State-of-the-art ATMs make money go greener

Photo by Brian Giandelone

Photo by Brian Giandelone

BUFORD -- Joyce Calloway purchased postage stamps at an ATM on Thursday using her bank card.

Calloway was the first customer at the Wachovia Bank at Mall of Georgia in Buford to use a newly installed, state-of-the-art, "green" ATM, which was unveiled before county and community leaders Thursday morning.

This particular ATM doesn't require customers to use envelopes or fill out deposit slips to make deposits, which saves paper. Other features include six language options and voice instructions for the visually impaired in both English and Spanish. Georgia is the first eastern state to get the new ATMs.

Wachovia, a Wells Fargo company, anticipates the new technology will be especially beneficial to small businesses in that deposits made at ATMs before 8 p.m. will be posted to accounts at midnight and funds will be available for use the following business day. The ATMs also accept stacks of up to 50 cash bills of various denominations or stacks of up to 30 checks. The machines image the bills and checks immediately and provide a printout of check images.

Scott Asher, senior vice president and community bank president for Wachovia in Gwinnett County, said all 29 banking locations in Gwinnett will be outfitted with the new ATMs by mid-February.

Along with the addition of the new technology at each of its banking locations, Wachovia plans to add 80 team members to its Gwinnett work force, hiring tellers, bankers and Wells Fargo home mortgage loan officers.

"I think the new hires certainly shows our investment in the Gwinnett community," Asher said. "We're going to be increasing our employees by about 20 percent."

To mark its continued growth in employment and new technology, the company presented a $15,000 check Thursday to the Gwinnett County Public Schools Foundation.

"We're really happy to be making a number of positive contributions to Gwinnett in these challenging times," Asher said.

The foundation plans to use the donation to reduce the costs of administering Advanced Placement exams.

"One of the things that we try to do is to encourage our children to stretch the limits and take as many AP classes as they possibly can," said Carole Boyce, a Gwinnett County Board of Education member who was on hand to accept the check. "This is expensive from the training standpoint for our teachers because they need to have the background for sure to be able to do that, and one thing that our Gwinnett County Public Schools Foundation has done is to help defray the costs on that over the last few years. This particular donation will help us expand the program even more."