How to use video surveillance at a bank in 2024

January 2, 2023

Financial institutions, from banks and credit unions to individual ATMs, require comprehensive security measures. Video surveillance is often part of the security regulatory requirements for banks.

However, bank video surveillance can be used in many ways, some of which go well beyond security measures. In addition, the wrong video surveillance system can leave your bank or credit union underprotected.

That’s why this article gives you practical tips on how to use video surveillance at your financial institution.

Download Solink’s free ebook to discover new ways to protect your ATMs.

To see all the ways Solink can help your financial institution, book a demo today.

Bank surveillance can refer to two different security measures:

  1. Government surveillance of banking institutions to confirm they are operating safely (e.g., following rules regarding money laundering or maintaining safe reserve amounts in line with local regulations).
  2. Video surveillance as part of branch security measures.

In this article, we focus on the latter. The Federal Reserve’s website has up-to-date information about American bank surveillance regulations, and we encourage you to go there if interested, or to similar central bank websites for other countries.

In this article, we discuss the features required from bank video surveillance systems, the benefits of bank surveillance, and how banks use video surveillance to improve their security and efficiency.

What are the features to look for in bank surveillance systems?

The security needs of banks will depend on the location of the branch and the related regulatory requirements. However, there are some indispensable features that increase the security value of a video surveillance system as well as allow it to be used for more than just security.

Camera health checks

The most important feature for a bank surveillance system is that it automatically tells you when something is wrong. The fact is that a damaged, disconnected, or blocked camera represents an unknown gap in your security coverage.

Whether the camera or device has failed naturally or been purposefully blocked to hide fraudulent behavior, the bank manager needs to be informed as soon as possible.

A laptop with a screen showing a dashboard.

Solink performs regular automatic health checks of cameras and devices to make sure they are always working for you.

High resolution and frame rate

Once you are confident that your system is reliable, it’s important to consider the functionality. Cash is relatively small and teller counters can be far away from wall- and ceiling-mounted cameras. Furthermore, tellers and other bank employees can count cash very quickly. High-resolution cameras with a high frame rate can capture these actions so they can be audited later.

While less risky businesses can get away with lower resolution cameras and a lower frame rate, banks should consider investing in higher end security camera models.

In addition, to maintain security 24/7, infrared (IR) cameras that have better night vision can provide enhanced security.

Technology agnostic

Banks require a lot of cameras, and those high-definition cameras can be expensive. The last thing a financial institution wants to do is be locked into proprietary security infrastructure. That’s why Solink takes a technology agnostic approach to development.

Solink is compatible with the vast majority of security cameras available today. This makes the startup costs lower, as you don’t need to replace your current surveillance cameras.

Video and data integration

In addition to being able to use existing camera systems, your bank surveillance system should be able to integrate with your other technology.

Solink integrates with hundreds of other systems to provide further insights into your business. Integration partners range from business intelligence and scheduling tools to access control and alarm systems.

bank video surveillance pin pad

To see how Solink can integrate with your systems, sign up for a demo today.

Weather- and vandal-proof construction

Make sure your cameras are sturdy. The last thing you want is to have vandals or thieves destroy the frontline of your security infrastructure. Dome cameras, for example, are usually considered particularly resilient to weather and vandals.

Flexible video storage

Security cameras usually have limited or no on-board storage capability. Fraud can sometimes take months to discover and years for the case to be closed. This requires a flexible video storage system.

Cloud storage can be expensive, while local storage can be limited or risky as hard drives can fail. Solink provides a cloud video storage solution that works with network-attached storage (NAS) that provides customized local storage. This unlocks the value of cloud video surveillance without any of the risks.

Financial institutions can choose 30, 60, 90, or even longer local video retention periods. The NAS device reduces the risk of lost footage. When an event does occur, you can save the footage in Solink’s cloud video storage forever.

Financial institutions have a large ecosystem of connected systems. A bank surveillance system should be able to integrate with all of these systems to provide video footage of each event. This can be used to improve security, efficiency, customer service, and more.

Similarly, motion search is a way to view needed video clips without wasting time scanning through the unimportant footage. This simultaneously saves time and improves the security of your financial institution.

bank security camera motion search

Remote access

Remote access means the head office and regional managers can audit individual branches for security protocol compliance, along with their cleanliness, customer service, etc. It’s a key technology that guarantees the scalability of a bank surveillance system.

One key point to mention here is that multiple video streams is particularly important for banks and credit unions. Since bank surveillance systems require high-definition security cameras, their Internet bandwidth could be quickly overloaded.

Solink solves this by streaming video surveillance in standard definition and high definition simultaneously. Bank security officers can run the system in standard definition during the exploratory phase of an investigation. Then, when an incident is found, they can use the high-definition stream to have a better view of what happened.

This eliminates the need to compromise between better security cameras and remote access usability.

Plug and play

It’s important for a bank surveillance system to be ready out of the box. Simple installation, an easy-to-use interface, and the ability to connect to existing infrastructure mean security professionals don’t skip a beat when upgrading to Solink.

Multiple users with custom permissions

Branch managers, district managers, security officers, and head office all need different things from video surveillance. A strong bank surveillance system will offer each person their own user login, with permission to view only the data sources and cameras they need.

Solink offers unlimited custom logins for exactly this reason.

To improve the security of your financial institution with Solink, sign up for a demo today.

To see all the ways Solink can help your financial institution, book a demo today.

How do banks use video surveillance?

Banks use their video surveillance system for a variety of reasons, from better security to improved business performance.

Theft, robbery, and vandalism deterrence and follow-up

This is the major reason banks invest in strong security measures. It’s also why there are regulations in place for the types of surveillance systems banks require. Primarily, bank surveillance systems aim to deter most criminal behavior and create strong recourse for any activity that does occur.

As your bank’s video management system (VMS), Solink provides the ability to find, save, and share video evidence within the organization and with law enforcement. This saves time during investigations and helps ensure a satisfactory resolution.

Investigate ATM fraud

Pairing video to each ATM transaction allows banks to quickly search transactions when a fraud claim is made and watch the related video. This makes it immediately apparent who used the ATM to withdraw money and therefore whether fraud has occurred.

In many ATM-related crimes, video footage is crucial evidence for a satisfactory resolution to the incident. Solink makes it easy to find video evidence of incidents by pairing video to matching transactions.


Business intelligence

While improved security is the primary goal when building a bank surveillance system, why stop there? Heat maps, metrics tracking through data integrations, and other intelligent features can lead to improved decision making.

Better branch layouts, higher customer satisfaction, and optimized schedule can all be accomplished with the right bank surveillance system. In addition, using your security camera to track footfalls into your branches can unlock further insights.

Management oversight

It can be difficult to ensure top-down directives are being followed across hundreds or thousands of branches. Local management might not totally buy into the reasoning behind decisions, while visiting each branch to monitor implementation is infeasible.

Bank surveillance systems help management audit their branches for company policy compliance. This improves management efficiency as you can review multiple locations remotely in the time it takes to visit a single branch. It also gives a more accurate view of what is happening while managers aren’t around.

Reduce liability

In addition to reducing the risk of crime, security cameras can help reduce the risk of injuries, Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) violations, and accidents. For example, Veterans of America-Michigan uses Solink to make sure rainwater is quickly mopped up to prevent slip-and-falls.

Volunteers of america michigan success story.

Proactive alerts

Solink Video Alarms Monitoring Service can replace a traditional alarm system, with better coverage, reduced false alarms, and overall higher ROI. Instead of dispatching law enforcement when a door is opened after hours, video alarms wait for video verification.

Verified alarms reduce the chance of false alarms while simultaneously improving the emergency response. Dispatchers can access the real-time video feed to better react to an incident. This is one of the ways a bank surveillance system provides proactive alerts.

Integrations with transaction data allows the system to send notifications when other events occur. For example, Threshold Notifications will send you a message whenever one of your core metrics is outside of your comfort zone.

Make customers and staff feel safe

The fact is that it is just as important to feel safe as to be safe. Handling large amounts of cash can be nerve-wracking, as it makes people feel vulnerable to crime. A visible surveillance system can make customers and staff feel at ease within your branches by showing them that you are watching out for their safety.

Extending your security measures through external surveillance cameras and lighting around parking lots and ATMs will add to this feeling of safety and make your bank welcoming.

Case management

A case management system (CMS) collects all of the relevant evidence of an incident together so it can be accessed whenever needed. A good bank surveillance system will break down the silos between your VMS and CMS so you can do this in one platform.

Monitor multiple branches

A major benefit of a bank surveillance platform is that it makes security scalable. Solink allows you to monitor any number of branches all in one place. This scalability helps growing banks maintain the same level of security, as well as customer service and efficiency, while expanding to hundreds or thousands of branches.

bank surveillance camera monitoring with solink camera groups

Who uses a bank surveillance camera system?

Solink provides an unlimited number of customizable logins, as well as training so banks get the most out of the platform. Here are some of the people at financial institutions who might use a bank surveillance system.

Upper management

Head office can use bank surveillance systems to monitor customer service levels. Upper management can also ensure all branches are maintaining a safe and clean environment. Integrated bank surveillance systems like Solink allow management to track metrics and see video footage of transactions.

Using security cameras for people counting can even help make decisions about which branches to close or where new branches should be opened.

Security professionals

An appropriate bank surveillance system will save security professionals time while improving the security level of their banks. Here are some of the ways security professionals can use a bank surveillance system:

  • Share real-time video access with law enforcement during emergency situations.
  • Save, share, and send important video clips internally and externally (VMS).
  • Track incidents during the resolution process (CMS).
  • React in real time to security events.
  • Ensure employee honesty.
  • Deter criminal behavior.

IT professionals

Solink’s video surveillance solution for banks means the “end of end of life (EoL).” There are no more NVRs or DVRs to purchase or replace. Everything is plug and play and designed to work with your other systems. Solink is also compatible with most security cameras on the market today, which makes the startup costs much lower.

In addition, Solink offers ongoing coaching for staff, so they get the most value out of the platform. All of this means less work for busy IT professionals.

Branch managers

Branch managers can keep up to date on what is happening in their branch, even when out of the office. Alerts can be set up to notify branch managers when metrics are outside their comfort zone, or there is motion detected when or where it shouldn’t be.

Ultimately, the value provided to branch managers is peace of mind. They can be confident that everything is working as it should be because at any moment they can audit every part of their business.

Where do you place video surveillance cameras in a bank?

Surveillance cameras should cover all important areas of a bank. In addition, you should place cameras where you are likely to get good images of the face of anyone entering the bank or license plates of vehicles in the parking lot.

Here are some places where you should consider placing bank surveillance cameras:

  • Inside and facing ATMs (including ATMs in the bank, ATMs attached to the outside of the bank, and drive-thru ATMs)
  • Entrances and exits to the banks (main entrances, employee entrances, and emergency exits)
  • Parking lots attached to banks
  • In the bank lobby
  • Over each teller
  • The vault

Banks require more out of their surveillance system than other businesses. It’s a high-risk environment where fast and appropriate incident response is necessary. Solink brings together different data sources and features to make this possible.

To see how Solink can help your financial institution, sign up for a demo today.

To see all the ways Solink can help your financial institution, book a demo today.