TD Bank is stamping its name on ATM machines in Walgreens across Massachusetts, bowing to the changing financial habits of its customers, who are less interested in branches being open on holidays than getting cash whenever they want and using smartphones to manage their money.
Toronto-Based TD Bank’s pitch in the United States has long been that its branches are open late during the week, as well as on Sundays, and include services such as coin-counting machines. But in recent years, “America’s Most Convenient Bank” has closed more branches than it has opened, and it has cut hours in some locations.
“People are defining convenience differently,” said Mark Crandall, regional president of TD Bank.
The partnership with the drugstore chain is the bank’s first effort to place its cash machines in retail stores. The ATMs will be in 143 Walgreens, some near established TD branches in municipalities such as Boston, Somerville, Newton, and Worcester.
The Walgreens ATMs are a way for TD Bank to give customers quick access to their money when they are running errands or picking up prescriptions at the drugstore, Crandall said. It will also help the bank introduce itself to more potential depositors and become a more widely recognized brand.
The partnership between TD and Walgreens makes sense, said Ed O’Brien, a director at Mercator Advisory Group, a Maynard consulting firm. It’s cheaper than installing an ATM terminal on a street corner, he said, and provides customers, who are increasingly doing their banking away from branches, more options.
“It gives them an additional footprint in a pharmacy that’s located well,” with stores in high-traffic areas, O’Brien said.
TD isn’t the first bank to brand its ATMs in drugstores. Santander Bank ATMs are in CVS pharmacies.
Banks across the country are trying to figure out what to do with branches as their customers deposit checks, pay bills, and transfer money on computers and mobile phones. Some banks are remodeling branches so they resemble Apple stores or coffee shops, with tellers armed with tablet computers and rooms that allow customers to teleconference with lenders.
Many are closing branches, too. Bank of America, the largest bank in the state, has shuttered more than 40 branches in Massachusetts since 2010. The bank, headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., had 244 branches in Massachusetts last year, down from 285, according to regulatory filings.
O’Brien said he expects US banks to close up to 15 percent of their branches in coming years.
TD Bank expanded its branches rapidly after it entered the US market in 2004 with the purchase of Portland, Maine-based Banknorth. TD, through other acquisitions, grew into one of the largest regional banks on the East Coast and the fourth-largest in Massachusetts.
TD, however, has stopped expanding its branch network. In first quarter of this year, the bank had 1,325 branches across its service area, down from 1,339 in September, according to SNL Financial, a Virginia financial research firm.
But, Crandall said, brick-and-mortar locations remain crucial to TD Bank’s strategy. People still prefer to open an account with a bank that’s nearby, he said.
“It’s still the number one driver of decision,” Crandall said. “Having a store location still matters.”