What Is The Best Surveillance System For Banks?

What is the best cctv system for banks?

Well you need a double exposure WDR unit for the one facing the entrance - so Axis, Avigilon, Bosch, Panasonic and Samsung WDR models come to mind.

Scenes are usually quite narrow so 720p/1MP models are likely to be most suitable.

We have not had anyluck even with 5MP panaromas - the image get rapifly worse as it goes towards the edge which does not result in customer satisfaction.

Regarding the VMS you probably need central management of hundreds of branches so Milestone and Genetec comes to mind.

I am probably assuming way too much - please provide more details about the job.

Bohan, Milestone and Genetec are not optimized for bank branch needs.

In terms of what is actually used, March Networks, Verint, 3VR are far more common.

(1) They all offer hybrid DVR appliances, important for the small analog camera counts common in these locations.

(2) They have deep integration with the teller / ATM systems most commonly used in banks.

Bohan, as for WDR, you left out Sony, really? That said, I doubt Axis and Avigilon MP cameras are typical bank cameras (obviously they exist, just not the rule).

The most common camera needed for banks is for teller stations, typically one SD analog camera per station (5 - 6 feet wide). There's obviously quite a lot of interest in using MP cameras to cover multiple teller stations but that brings up issues of associating the right teller transaction data with the camera.

John: obviously I have much to learn about bank surveillance. It lookings like I am going to learn alot on this thread.

Regarding Sony - I did not leave them out intentionally.

Finally, would Milestone Transact not have broad integration support from most of the bigger players? I was under the impression that Milestone/Genetec are the leaders in heavily fragmented multisite systems.

Genetec and Milestone (Corporate) excel in large scale locations with lots of cameras per location (corporate, government, etc.). By contrast, banks might have thousands of location but average ~10 cameras per location. They frequently need 2 or 4 channel recorders for ATM machines, they have very limited bandwidth per site, etc. They are heavily analog centric etc. None of which plays well to Milestone and Genetec's strengths.

If Genetec and Milestone are dominating in banks, they are keeping it a secret. Milestone's got hundreds of case studies posted online but only 7 are shown in banking, 4 of which are from their home market.

We are partners to Genetec and Avigilon. Neither are of them are strong in banks.

I have seen some large banking references outside of the US for Genetec, and a few inside the United States (CitiGroup, HSBC but not sure if it's companywide for either of them). This isn't a core part of their business and is dwarfed by their citywide and transportation deployments. I certainly couldn't recommend it for a small deployment where a significant investment in customization could be required to achieve the functionality desired.

I haven't worked with March, Verint or 3VR so I can't tell you they are the leaders in the financial sector but I can tell you that it's definitely not Genetec or Avigilon.

Blasphemy!!!! :)

For a ridiculous debate on Avigilon in banks, see this discussion.

Yea I saw that. Some of my fellow Avigilon partners do seem to go a bit overboard, feels like a CUTCO or Kirby style sales pitch. As an integrator our response to any prospective client should not just be "Avigilon."

Looks like you got your work cut out for you John!

"As an integrator our response to any prospective client should not just be "Avigilon."

This is very pragmatic, and I fiercely agree with you. No matter the lines/line you represent, finding the best answer is true 'integration', not just 'reselling'.

What is your reply if i ask you today the same question ?


In the last 5 years, 3VR has definitely gone down. They just got sold for pennies on the dollar and, equally importantly, have slowed down development for years.

For banks, Exacq is up, both in terms of bank wins and in terms of enterprise features desirable for banks.

Both Genetec and Milestone are better in that they more mature appliance offerings plus much larger feature sets. Also, IP is far more prominent which helps them and makes traditional DVRs less desirable.

Thanks for asking! More questions or thoughts, let us know.

Interesting because I was contacted by a bank chain today asking about IP and software solution. I work for one of the big 4 VMS mfg's.

Their current reseller was getting ready to install a Hikvision DVR with analog cameras, but they want something more. Yes, they are extremely price sensitive, but a creatively designed IP system can come close. Especially if they are able to utilize existing server infrastructure.

I am sure some banks get pitched Hikvision, simply because they have lots of dealers and the price is low.

Not just security concerns, but ATM and bank transaction integration, ability to create cases, export evidence, get advanced manufacturer support, all those types of things are advantages to real VMSes (rather than a $300 NVR) that banks tend to value.

I have no experience with banks, but I imagine that there are state/federal(?) mandates that they at least have surveillance. I'm curious how these mandates differ from state to state as they do for casinos.

Additionally, I'm curious if there are any banking regulations that specify any limits on the use of their networks for non-banking-related functions? [or mandates of separate VLANs for said functions] Both for security reasons (exposure) and the risks of large amounts of camera data on networks possibly interfering with essential financial transactions....

Hi Marty,

Here in my country (Panama) the Superintendency of Banks issued a decree last year requiring all local banks to have "AT LEAST" 1 year of video surveillance footage available for ALL of the ATM cash dispensing machines upon request by any investigative authority. (I guess Seagate, Western Digital and all the local hard disk / tape backups distributors would be very happy : )

Supposedly all banks should have complied by September, 2012. But I can say for sure, not all have done so, yet.

Don't know about you on your side, but here ATM skimming and cards fraud has been a growing epidemic that is "beginning" to worry the banks enough in that they are wasting more and more human resources and time to investigate these cases.

The United States Bank Security Act states that Banks must have alarms and cameras. There is not much detail beyond that. Some revamping of that Act appears to be in order. There are many common practices among banks that have in-house security expertise or banks that use security integrators who have experience in the financial segment, such as retaining certain images longer to aid in investigations of suspected fraud.

I very highly recommend that banks use security integrators who are experts in serving banks. Many, many differences and additional requirements compared to residential, commercial, etc.

I am not aware of any significant federal or state mandates for state banking surveillance. There may be some at the state level but I don't think it's common.

Typically banks use recorders that have server side bandwidth throttling that guarantees that the recorder only streams out Xkb/s or less. This is a high priority as most bank branches have low WAN bandwidth, mostly conduct investigations remotely and obviously care most about financial transaction data.

A system for banks is not only video swithing and WDR for CCTV cameras. The main problem is to reduce the disputes between ATM card holder and bank. Recording the image of cardholders while process transaction on ATM and to fight against faking identity ( to deny the transaction) this 90% of the problem. The synchronization/ integration between the card and recording picture, acording my personal experience ,is the main isue (The NVR software must have the capability to "read" the ATM strings). Very important to read FBI Bank digital video recording procedure. The company/integrator must give a heavy (and expensive)support.

We are using 3VR in 70 bank branches primarily for the analytics that are available to us with 3VR. Facial recognition and teller transaction event cards from 3VR allow the banks to search all of the branches for face, account # or amount of transaction in a very short period of time. License plate recognition is also used at most of the newer branches.

Our banks are required to retain 180 days of video for the customer transaction.

John is correct when he says banks are heavily into analog and limited bandwidth. However I would say this is the old days at least for this bank. I work for a bank with over 120 financial institutions. We have use and purchased in the past American Dynamics, Ge Security, and analog cameras from American Dynamics, Philips, Burle, Ge Security, and Bosch. However three years ago we switched to installing only 3VR and Axis cameras. Axis Cameras now account for 85 percent of our installation. 3VR accounts for 100 percent of our DVR installations. The only reason Axis does not account for 100 percent of our camera installations is because we have some specialty cameras that Axis does not make. Door Mullion or door jamb cameras. Two way drive through or motor bank equipment video system. The night depositories we buy come with a camera built into the safe from the manufacture. And last but not least one model of ATM we install the placing of a camera in the unit was an after thought by the ATM manufacture and so in order to get a camera inside the unit and have at least a decent poor quality image versus a very bad image there is only one camera we could find that fits inside the ATM.



Yes, some banks are heavily into IP, POS integration, VMS, COTS and integration of alarm, VMS and physical access control systems. Cyber Security awareness has also led to network penetration testing, network segmentation, and the ability to poll, inventory, interface with and control access to edge devices.

I have a preference for Hanwah over Axis but will save that discussion for another day.

Damon, thanks. Can you comment on your use of SD vs MP? Are your new cameras MP? If so, have you been able to reduce camera count?

You can take a look at where Qatar is putting cameras for some general ideas on placement. Here are all the specs it mandates for Banks and Exchange Shops.


We are using both standard def and MP. However we are not using a lower amount of cameras we are still using the same amount of cameras.

We are using the AXIS P33 series, P1344 series, and the M3004.

In scanning the posts, I don't see that the Arecont 3MP WDR camera was mentioned. Given its favorable results in a receint IPVM camera shootout, I'd put it on my list to evaluate for our banking applications.

IP cameras, or at least higher resolution IP cameras have limited benefit in banking "stores". We're viewing small areas such as teller line customers, vault door exit activity, rooms housing safes ATM customers, etc. I would place a 3MP WDR IP camera behind teller line to capture the customer queue line and lobby overview. I would also place the same camera above the lobby customer entry door for an oposing lobby overview scene while capturing exit activity. One camera behind the teller line viewing multiple customers at the teller windows is NOT the best application. Tellers are on a certain side of the counter openings and could block views. We also lose our direct angle of the customers. One lower res camera per teller window mounted on the oposing side from where the teller sits gives us our best image of the customer. Recorders and recording software need to support transaction (point of sale) interfaces, transaction image event capture, and image searches/retrieval with transaction data fields as search criteria. As was mentioned in an earlier post, March, 3VR and others excel at this and with their recent VMS offerings, we have potential for added flexibility.

Don, thanks for the feedback. With regards to Arecont's new WDR, I agree it's worth putting on the list. I think we are going to see a lot of 'true' WDR MP offerings in the next year as the sensors used are becoming widely available.

For a bank application, I would focus testing / evaluations on the ability to quickly produce a clear WDR image as someone is opening the door and it closes behind them. There are likely material variances between even 'true' WDR vendors for this. For instance, some may adjust quicker than others to the change in sunlight while others might pixelate/blur facial details.

Hi all industry colleagues,

This is the first time I post on any IPVM discussion.

I'm based in Central America and we have a bank with 70+ branches as our customer for almost 6 years. So I think I can contribute a thing or two to the discussion about video surveillance systems for banks in general (or at least for this local bank, in my case).

IMHO, unusual as it may seem, this topic not always spins around the latest Megapixels-Capability, HD Resolutions or any technological "WAO" factor ... at least in our case here.

- From the perspective of the integrator/supplier: the best video surveillance system/cameras for the bank are those that can solve the bank's needs, do their job well and make a decent profit for the company and mainly that they must not break down easy and frequently. By "breaking down easily and frequently" I mean, reliable products that after selling them do not bring extra-headache to the boss (even though a preventive and corrective maintenance contract is in place and a full time technician is assigned to this sole customer 24/7).

- From the perspective of the bank's Security Department and the guys that handle the annual security budget: the best video surveillance system/cameras are:

Number 1: Those that can basically meet all the legal requirements imposed on them by the Superintendency of Banks, etc. without falling too much behind on the current technology (for example: 2 Megapixel IP or HD-SDI cameras supporting 1920x1080 Full HD resolution may be all the rage currently, but a cheaper 1.3 MP may suffice to them because when adding the additional storage space required, rackmount spaces, etc. the amount will sky-rocket to numbers that are not very easy to justify).

And Number 2: No news is good news ! The less calls that the security bosses receive about "DVRs that stopped recording in the middle of the night, cameras full of water inside after a night's heavy rain, etc." the BETTER !!

As one of the security insiders at the bank told me once: up there at the top, the CEO and Board of Directors are after all BANKERS. The less money the security department guys suck out purchasing cameras, DVRs, storage; the MORE profits the bank will keep at the end of the fiscal year. And if the fine for not complying is less way less than the investment they simply pay the fine or refund the customer, as simple as that.

Investing $500K more this year because last year there were 3 or 4 more of those stupid $100 dollars cases of customers being robbed at ATMs ?? NO WAY !!! Just let the customer know that the video has been recycled, not there anymore, pay the fine and give the money back to the victim customer.

Hope this can further enrich the discussion :)

If anyone is interested, here is the PDF file with the Superintendency of Banks's decree that I mentioned earlier.

It is available only in Spanish, as far as I know. No idea really if someone there had taken the time to translate and post it on English, French, etc. which makes sense, since Panama prides itself on being an "International Financial Center" having and serving more international banks branches than anywhere else in Central America.

Only one choice, Hikvision components on the Hik-Central platform allowing you the ability to administer multiple locations from one workstation. Excellent products, reasonable cost with first class technical support and if by some rare chance you would need support in many cases Hikvision offers a Local Manufacturer technical support person. Whomever you select demand demonstration of the products offered.

Only one choice, Hikvision

So the only choice for banks now is Hikvision?

Why interest in this old article. I have seen a lot of new and recent post on this in the past two days.

Yes 3VR sold for penny's on the dollar as John put it. Not sure if this is good or bad. I hope it is a good. I think it may be better for the buyer. It gives them a VMS. I wont be good for any current users of 3VR if the ruin existing integrations. We don't use their card access system and have no plans to.

I also saw comments that 3VR went down hill over the past 5 years. As a buyer of 3VR, I have not seen it. Yes there has been a slow down in new product releases. However they have made improvements in their software. Which for me and my organizations have been nice improvements to see.

I have also seen that someone recommended Genetec, Milestone, Exacq. I even saw one post for Hikvision.

Well I can tell you I work in the banking industry and I don't see them being used by my competitors. I have many friends and Colleague in the banking / credit union segment / industry.

when I am sitting around a table with them and we have discussions typically they use the following: Verint or March Networks.

My boss last year went to an event hosted by Axis Communications at one of their Customer Experience centers strictly for the banking industry and he told me that of everyone in the room, we were the only ones using 3VR in the room.

Everyone else was using Verint and March Networks. He said there was no other VMS in use in the group of 20 - 30 financial sectors folks.

Again this is what I hear most often.

Cameras on the other hand, this is all over the map. We use exclusively Axis for IP. When replacing an analog camera at an old site not upgraded we are exclusively Bosch.

Damon, the interest in this old discussion is that a member, Ralph, 3 days ago asked "What is your reply if i ask you today the same question?".

As for your response:

3VR went down hill over the past 5 years. As a buyer of 3VR, I have not seen it. Yes there has been a slow down in new product releases. However they have made improvements in their software

My point is those improvements have been much slower and limited compared to their competitors. Related, 3VR has largely outsourced development overseas, whereas 3VR once and most of their competitors today primarily develop their own VMSes internally.

The Identiv acquisition could be good, simply because 3VR has been underinvesting in development the past few years so if Identiv is willing to invest here it could improve 3VR's positioning.

I too am in the industry. The problem with Verint and MARCH is that they were great analog solutions. I have tested full IP solutions and I am of the opinion they have fallen behind. Today, its not the recorder which matters as much, the cameras matter. The camera tech is evolving so fast these legacy surveillance systems are not keeping up, they are nut fully integrating with these new cameras and tacking advantage of camera management and on board analytics. Again, just an opinion.

Having deployed many 3VR units in our branches and ATMs I can say that 3VR has been running lean over recent years. Less development and support resources these days. Hopefully end users will benefit now that 3VR is part of an apparently stronger company.

Answering the question today I'd have to say Geutebruck. And we are a Geutebruck dealer. I like that the video database on the servers is not clips of AVI or MP4 files like some VMS's do, but rather a proprietary database format that requires authentication in the software to access. It's very robust in it's database optimizing. They're up to 256bit encryption on the client software and they now have camera to recorder full encryption of video streams available using their cameras. They have ATM integration, native video analytics, ANPR, and their privacy in motion capability for privacy concerns (though for banks that may not be such a big deal). It’s a very stable platform and has very fine tuned user operator capabilities and restrictions and event auditing. And their 5 year warranty now I think is a good opportunity leverage a long term relationship with the bank.

It fits my perception of when I think about banks, I think compliance and security. However, like Dario Yau pointed out in his post where he said “The less money the security department guys suck out purchasing cameras, DVRs, storage; the MORE profits the bank will keep at the end of the fiscal year”, many banks we’ve talked to seem more about bottom line and cheap pricing, and compliance is a far second. Maybe that is changing as it seems regulators are looking harder at banks concerning security and compliance. Not saying it or any one platform is the best tool for all jobs, but for banks feel better about it.

For the large banks with thousands of DVR's I feel the only scalable, well-supported, affordable options for financial institutions are Verint and March. I'm a fan of Genetec but licensing is pricey...good for RMR if you can sell it.

The banks I work with are migrating to 100% IP cameras...but more than 2MP is not really a consideration. Bandwidth is still as issue at the "store" level so DVR's are not going away anytime soon. Greater that 99% of recorded video is never used...makes no sense to use valuable bandwidth to centralize video.

Verint offers solid analytics as well...not sure about March.

Binoculars and the Brinks schedule!!!