Bank of America Corp (BAC): The New and Improved

Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) has been undergoing a facelift for a while now, and it looks like the bandages are finally coming off. What is being revealed is a newer, more customer-friendly visage that projects its new persona — one that considers the consumer’s needs first, and exudes helpfulness — with a hefty dose of humility thrown in for good measure.

Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC)

Branches get a makeover

As the bank has cut the bloat over the past two years, it has also closed a large number of branch locations. In spite of the great strides the bank has made in the service offered at its branches, media attention most often focuses on the number of branches taken out of circulation.

While it’s true that Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) closed twice as many branches last year than PNC Financial Services (NYSE:PNC) and Wells Fargo & Co (NYSE:WFC) combined, the bank hasn’t given up on branch locations altogether. As promised, it has closed the least used locations, while opening newer — albeit, fewer — spiffier branches in areas that see more foot traffic.

Last fall, Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) announced it would be opening several of these super-branches nationwide. In addition to more luxurious floor plans, these locations will serve up videoconferencing with financial specialists, and roving tellers to help cut down on waiting time. Comfy chairs will soon feature self-serve tablets for customer use, and in addition, spanking-new ATMs are coming online, too.

Advanced ATMs will feature video chats with tellers, for those times when customers need more than the standard ATM fare. The units will be available within bank buildings, as well as at drive-up and stand-alone locations. Bank of America Corp (NYSE:BAC) isn’t the only bank using these technological wonders. JPMorgan Chase & Co. (NYSE:JPM) is rolling out some of its own interactive ATMs, which it will also use in conjunction with tablet-carrying employees at branch locations. JPMorgan’s CIO envisions customers being able to initiate more complex banking activities, such as the mortgage application process, via this new system.