News & Features » News

Telling off the automatic teller



You people are revolting! Revolting against America's banking establishment, that is. As you know, our friendly bankers have been trying to shove us small depositors out of their institutions, insisting that we bank at their ATM machines, rather than expecting to have branch banks located in ourcommunities and to have the branches staffed by actual human beings. It's conventional banker wisdom that ATMs are the essence of efficiency, and that we customers just have to get used to our high-tech future. Wells Fargo banks, for example, have even installed greeters at the doors of their branches, not to welcome customers, but to ask them to use the ATM instead of bothering the tellers. They refer to this as "migrating the customers' transactions," and these greeters are called: "Migreeters." I am not making this up! Problem is, we customers are not cooperating. We keep insisting on seeing real people to handle our transactions. Indeed, a recent poll finds three-fourths of us preferring to bank at fully-staffed branches, rather than at machines, and two-thirds of us refuse to use machinery at all for certain bank business -- especially making deposits. As one customer told The Wall Street Journal, "What proof do I have that I actually deposited the money `at the ATM`? I just like knowing there's a real person who is making note of the transaction." The result of such customer rebellion is that banks are not being able to eliminate branches -- indeed, the number of staffed bank offices is up! Still, the bankers are not giving up on their battle to teach us to love their machines. NationsBank, for example, is adding an "imaging feature" to its ATM screens: If you deposit your money in the machine, a picture of a check being deposited will be shown, just as though it was really happening. Trust us. Trust a banker? I don't think so.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.