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Bank of America Express, currently undergoing tests in Atlanta, is a transaction-oriented center designed to provide customers with fast and friendly banking services.

Bank of America has debuted Bank of America Express, transaction-oriented centers designed to provide customers with a fast, friendly and accurate banking experience.

Four of the new Express centers are currently up and operating in Atlanta at Ansley Park (inside a Kroger supermarket), Concourse Office Park at Dunwoody, Peachtree Lenox on Peachtree Road and at Saddlebrook (also inside a Kroger).

"Bank of America Express is designed to have banking needs met in a fast, effective and bottom-line way," said Amy Brady, senior vice president and senior banking executive for the Prototype Market in Atlanta. "Our fully staffed teller lines are designed for fast transactions to be taken care of quickly and efficiently."

The Express centers are also equipped to provide information about mortgages, home equity loans and financial planning, "just not in a traditional way," she said. Indeed, business will be conducted quickly and comprehensively but with a most modern, even futuristic, flair.

For example, a "service specialist" will assist customers needing intricate services. Within seconds, the service specialist can connect a customer to an expert for help with such things as mortgages, savings plans and home equity loans, via videoconference or telephone. If a customer simply wants to check a balance, the service specialist can demonstrate how this can be done online, through the telephone or at Bank of America's enhanced ATMs to save the customer time.

"We are not aware of any other financial institution that leverages video conferencing to connect customers to expert associates who can assist them with their needs," Brady said. "We believe this will be a successful way for customers to avoid waiting in line or having to make an appointment. They are connected to an associate dedicated to Bank of America Express customers and clients. It's fast, friendly but also experimental and cutting edge so we'll find out if customers like it. Hopefully, they will."

Bank of America Express has several features that distinguish it from other banking centers. At the interactive Quick Info Zone, customers can quickly access information on a range of topics, from every day money management to the latest financial news. Customers can even trade stocks online.

Also exclusive at the Bank of America Express Centers is the Transaction Zone Media outlets. Televisions over the teller line will educate customers on various Bank of America products and services, as well as keep customers up to date on market information via CNN.

"Bank of America Express is focused on fast and friendly ways for customers to get their financial needs met," said Brady. "We want to leverage innovative technologies to decrease wait times in the center, and demonstrate ways for our customers to get the service they need, when and where they need it."

Finding out what customers like and don't like is exactly the purpose behind the Bank of America Prototype Market, which was started late last year. Charlotte, N.C.-based Bank of America wanted a research center where, in a controlled environment, it could evaluate new ideas, processes and technologies through different physical environments allowing the customer to choose how they want to do their business. The aim is to give each new idea a three-month test run in these environments before deciding its fate.

Bank of America Express is one of three banking concepts that make up the Prototype Market. The second is the Financial Center, which offers a variety of services, such as free financial classes, financial consultants and investment planners located in the centers as well as at "investment bars" where customers can log on and get investment research or even trade stocks. The environment is very visual with large screen stock tickers and a media wall displaying financial news channels, books and magazines.

The third banking concept is the enhanced traditional banking center--traditional banking with added features such as a host who greets customers upon their arrival and helps manage services requests.

Other innovations are planned for implementation across the franchise. Most noticeable is Image View, an online technology allowing customers to view a digital image of a cancelled check with the flick of a computer key. This technology is now available in all Georgia banking centers and is planned for future rollout across the country.

"That was an example of us testing a new idea and finding out that our customers and associates liked it," Brady said. "We also want to emphasize the experimental nature of this market. All of our efforts are aimed at giving our customers a superior banking experience they cannot get anywhere else. If our customers don't like an idea, we end it."

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