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Bank of America Eliminates Thousands of ATMs — Dollars and Sense

Kevork Djansezian, Getty Images

If you’re a Bank of America customer and finding an ATM seems harder these days, it’s not your imagination. In a cost-cutting move, the North Carolina-based banking giant has eliminated nearly 10 percent of its teller machines — more than 1,500, to be exact.

Because of the massive lawsuits tied to the bad home loans made by Countrywide, BofA has been trying to cut back on spending where it can. So when its ATM placement contracts with mall operator Simon Property Group Inc. and the Valero chain of gas stations expired, BofA opted not to renew them.

Analysts say banks pay an average of $1,700 a month to have an ATM on property they don’t own, as compared to the $1,100 it costs to maintain an ATM inside a bank.

“When they put an ATM in a mall or gas station, they have to rent that space in the same way that Sunglass Hut has to pay for their space,” said Bart Narter, a senior banking analyst at consulting firm Celent. “They did the math and probably concluded that these guys aren’t profitable.”

But Anne Pace, a spokeswoman for BofA, said it was all about “convenience and access,” adding that the machines that were pulled only dispensed cash and weren’t available 24 hours a day, while customers want to be able to use ATMs for other transactions — like depositing checks — instead.


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