If you’re a Bank of America customer and you sensed that the number of BofA ATMs out there had shrunk in recent months, you were not hallucinating. The company says it decided to pull 1,536 — nearly 1-in-10 — of its ATMs out of use in an effort to cut costs.
The bank, which has been hit hard by the huge lawsuits tied to the oodles of bad loans made by Countrywide, has been trying to trim spending wherever possible. Which meant that when it came time to renew its ATM placement contracts with Simon Property Group Inc., the nation’s largest shopping mall operator, and the Valero chain of gas stations, BofA said no to both.
Analysts believe that gas station and mall ATMs were targeted because the bank has to pay a premium to pay for its floor space, and these ATMs are often only as cash disbursal machines, as opposed to in-bank ATMs that offer a wider range of services to actual BofA customers.
One consultant tells Bloomberg that banks pay an average total of $1,700 per month to have an ATM on someone else’s property. That’s $600 more than it costs to run an ATM inside a bank.
Those spots vacated by BofA will likely be replaced — if they haven’t already been — by ATMs operated by other banks or ATM networks.