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Thursday, September 05, 2013

Drive-Up Tellers —Running out of gas at BOA?

Rob Kimmett, Sr. VP Marketing, New England Credit Union Services, LLC

It seems that Bank of America has decided that the Drive Up teller is going the way of the Drive In theater and the they have begun eliminating this service at four of its locations in MA and has announced that it will “evaluate its remaining 50 Massachusetts locations featuring drive through tellers,” according to an article “Bank of America closing the window on some drive-through tellers,” in the August 23 edition of the Boston Globe.   Not everyone is on board with this strategy as Citizen’s and TD Bank North indicated no plans to change.

On the face of it the bankers on the consultants favoring the change make a very convincing case for transitioning away from live drive up tellers.  Convenience was the rationale for drive up teller stations and much of that work involved deposits and check cashing.   Direct deposit, remote deposit capture along with ATM and POS offer even greater convenience.  So one could see how the number of drive up teller transactions might be in decline. 

Bank of America claims that there is no cost savings in the move as they have no plans to trim staff in conjunction with it.  Down the road many of those lanes will probably be hosting ATMs which according to all analysts are still tremendously popular. 

An effort to find data or anecdote that verifies the notion that consumers are deserting the drive-up window is hard to come by.  Bank of America may be experiencing a greater than average decline in drive-up teller volume but conversations with a number of credit unions that offer drive up teller service didn’t back up the idea that there was a big decline in volume.   One thing is clear and that is that Bank of America undertook a great deal of effort to tell the public that they reason they are doing away with these drive up tellers stations  is because according to them the consumer doesn’t want them anymore.

Posted by Rob •
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