A visiting banking technology expert says more advanced ATMs and more sociable branches will be a big part of New Zealand's banking sector in the next few years - but he also has a warning about bitcoins and other virtual currencies.

Cyrus Daruwala, the Singapore-based managing director for IDC Financial Insights Asia/Pacific was in New Zealand this week as a guest of the association of Credit Unions and financial tech company Finzsoft.

Daruwala said New Zealand banks were currently spending $US2 billion on new hardware, software and services.

Not all this money was going on new services for customers - with much going on governance and compliance with Government mandated requirements, such as data protection.


New Zealanders, said Daruwala, were "re-kindling of love for the branch" with bank branches that now looked like a coffee shop, behaved like a lounge and "almost feel like a library" .

See here: Bank undergoes extreme makeover

More appealing self-service kiosks, that allowed for much more than just issuing cash- were also coming to New Zealand - these machines, with larger screens, where one of the main "touch points" between banks and customers.

But when it comes to one of the most talked about pieces of modern financial technology, the Bitcoin virtual currency Daruwala is less enthusiastic.

It's dangerous and risky, he says - with authorities around the world now scrutinising its impact carefully, especially since anti-money laundering checks could not be properly done.