You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.


Banking: Through with drive-through

Continue reading below

In the days when many American suburbs were taking shape, the drive-through bank window was a startling innovation. Imagine depositing your paycheck without even parking the car! Ever since these windows became de rigueur outside big cities, banks have designed their branches — and set aside vast areas of blacktop — to accommodate long lines of idling vehicles.

But that model is changing. Beyond illustrating the impact of ATMs, direct deposit, and smartphone apps, recent news that Bank of America is phasing out some existing drive-through windows also suggests that, as consumer habits evolve, some kinds of car-oriented sprawl could disappear. It’s happened before. Most drive-in theaters are long gone. Enclosed shopping malls are giving way to open-air “lifestyle centers” that are more conducive to walking outdoors (and, developers hope, generate more sales on less acreage).

Don’t count the drive-through lane out just yet; many existing teller lanes will no doubt be retrofitted with ATMs. But it’s become clear that speed and convenience aren’t synonymous with doing business from the driver’s seat, and there are better ways to use the space.

Loading comments...
Want each day's news headlines delivered fresh to your
inbox every morning? Just connect with us
in one of the following ways:
Please enter a valid email will never post anything without asking.
Privacy Policy
Subscriber Log In

You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of
Marketing image of