No matter how comfortable and convenient your branches are, forcing customers to rush to the branch to cash a check before closing time is not helping cement the relationship. And it leaves you vulnerable to competitors with longer hours or branches that are closer to your customer. And extending hours into the evening and weekend may be great for the customer, but its tough on the bottom line.
That's what makes Wells Fargo's latest move doubly smart. Because deposit/check-capture ATMs automate the check cashing process, the main reason customers visit a branch late in the day, the machines can serve almost like a virtual branch for many users.
So Wells Fargo is leveraging its so-called "Envelope-free" ATM network to provide what amounts to extended branch hours, providing same-day credit for checks deposited in its Envelope-free ATMs to 7 PM. By adding three hours to what was a 4 PM cut-off, the bank instantly has a network of 1200 extended-hour locations (see Note 1) for a fraction of the cost of keeping branches open an extra 10 to 15 hours per week.
As remote deposit capture becomes a key selling point for banks, we expect deposit cutoff times to disappear altogether, just as many bill payment systems now allow payments to be initiated up to midnight for same-day processing.