I was driving along Route 7 in Brookfield, Connecticut and saw a new bank under construction. On the right side of the picture you can see the familiar drive-up windows where customers can make bank deposits. I assume the amortization of the building on the bank’s balance sheet will be 30 years. I wonder if the bank executives think that people will still be driving their car to a teller window to deposit checks in the decades ahead — or even in a few years. Apple recently introduced their passbook app which will be one of the many components of the move toward a cash-less society. Who is going to write, send, and deposit paper checks? When you think about the steps in the process that take advantage of the teller window, it is somewhat hard to imagine that it could justify construction of a new bank. A business sends a paper invoice to another business which then writes a check and mails it back to the first business who then sends someone in a car to drive to the bank to hand the check to the teller for deposit? And, who would actually park their car in the nice new parking lot and go in the bank? And, what would they do in there? I cannot remember the last time I was physically present in a bank — well more than a decade. Even the Social Security Administration is going paperless. Here is what they say at ssa.gov
Direct deposit delivers your Social Security or Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefit into your bank, savings and loan or credit union’s account quickly and safely. The U.S. Treasury sends an electronic message to your bank, savings and loan or credit union crediting your account with the exact amount of your Social Security or SSI benefit. You can withdraw money, put some in savings or pay bills-the things you do with your money now. The difference is, your check isn’t printed or mailed. Construction of a new bank with drive-up teller windows makes no sense to me. Community banks seem to be thriving, so maybe they know something I don’t.