Bank of America is eliminating drive-through teller service at some of its branches across the country – including six locations in the Charlotte region.
A bank spokeswoman says the decision was made in locations where use was low. Drive up ATMS will still be available at those branches. Retail banking analyst Will Weidman, vice president of Applied Predictive Technologies, says banks are trying find a balance between traditional services like drive-through windows and new technologies that let people bank from home and on mobile devices.
"It's a tough challenge for banks because there are a lot of things that you don't need to do in a branch, but there are still a lot of complicated things where you want to talk to somebody, you want to have that type of contact," says Weidman.
Banking Analyst Nancy Bush of NAB Research says Bank of America has been "in a constant state of experimentation with their retail strategies, trying to find out what works."
"It's kind of a bold strategy" to scale back on drive-through banking service in "car markets" like Charlotte and Atlanta, adds Bush.
This fall, Bank of America will debut new ATMs in some Charlotte branches that let customers speak with a teller by video-conference. In recent years, Bank of America has closed several hundred of its branches nationwide as it cuts costs and boost mobile banking.
But Weidman says bank branches will remain an important tool for recruiting new customers and selling products such as mortgages and investment accounts.
Bush adds "it's kind of a bold strategy"