The first Automated Teller Machine (“ATM”) in the U.S. opened in New York City on September 2, 1969.This original ATM was designed to dispense cash when a valid plastic card was used. By the 1980’s ATMs became widespread, handling many transactions that human bank tellers could perform. ATMs went on to revolutionize the banking industry.

Old bank entrance photo

Many in the banking industry believed that ATMs would eventually eliminate the need for human tellers, and eventually the need for bank branches themselves. In the 1980’s, On-Line Banking was introduced, and with the introduction of smart phones in 2007 Mobile Banking began to take off.

With all of these ways to transact business on your accounts, there are some questions as to whether the traditional bank branch will soon disappear. According to one survey*, more people bank on a computer or smart phone on a weekly basis than go to a bank branch. This would suggest that the bank branch is on the same path as the dinosaur. However, a survey conducted with data from the FDIC shows the number of commercial bank branches as of the first quarter of 2016 has declined only 5% since 2009.*

All that being said, what about bank branches in the Mid-Hudson Valley? In Dutchess County the number of bank branches (commercial and savings) as of 6/30/16 has increased 3.41% over the 6/30/06 number. The number for Dutchess, Orange, and Ulster counties combined for the period is a 7.91% decrease.*

What about Rhinebeck Bank? Rhinebeck Bank currently has 11 Full Service Branches, 9 in Dutchess County and 1 each in Orange and Ulster counties. The most recent opening was in Goshen in May of 2016. As a local community Bank, we see the importance of having branch locations. Here, our customers can conduct business with a financial professional, whether it is a simple cash transaction with a teller, or a complex transaction where a face to face meeting with a Banker would be helpful.

While the traditional bank branch may not be what it was 10 to 20 years ago, we at Rhinebeck Bank believe it remains vital to providing the kind of service we feel our customers deserve and want.

As a Teller with Rhinebeck Bank, I enjoy interacting with our customers. We have many customers who depend on us on a regular basis, such as our commercial customers who visit our branch every day, and consumers who prefer to do their business in person on a weekly basis. We do have ATMs, Debit Cards, On-Line Banking and Mobile Banking for those who wish to conduct business in this manner. However, we enjoy seeing our customers in person. So, if you haven’t been to your local branch in a while, come on in and say hello. We would love to see you

*Source: FDIC Summary of Deposits, published 9/30/16


Robert Foster