While drive-ups were not invented by the financial industry, they certainly have been valuable to modern banking. They have been proven to be a critical part of the ever-changing equipment found at banks and credit unions.
As with other businesses, efficiency is a key part of being a successful bank or credit union and the drive-up has become a way for financial institutions to provide this to the consumer. If customers/members can complete their transactions without needing to leave their cars, they can continue their day with minimal time lost. It’s a small benefit, but if a branch can positively impact the customer experience by removing some barriers to banking, it can be a powerful way to retain business through the years.
In 2020, the drive-up lane was suddenly a banking necessity, becoming the key way to provide safe, low-contact service during the COVID-19 pandemic. It was essential for banks and credit unions.
Equipment maintenance factors
As drive-ups have gotten more complex and offer more services, the maintenance of the equipment has become more challenging. The difficulty and expense of servicing an institution’s drive-up have several variables—some of which are not always obvious when planning repairs.
Over or under: For drive-ups with tube systems, the positioning of tubes is potentially your biggest cost factor. Exposed tubing is easier to fix, but may break more easily. Some financial institutions choose to bury their tubes to reduce potential damage. However, if an underground breakage happens, it usually means digging through concrete (and frozen ground in the winter) to get the problem fixed. This can mean repaving costs/delays, along with a high risk of damaging any remaining tubes during reconstruction.
Location: Geographic factors also play a role in drive-up equipment maintenance. If you are located near the desert or in a very flat part of the country, you may need to worry about dust getting blown into the components or other mechanics and must schedule regular cleanings.
Similarly, if you are somewhere that gets a lot of snow each year, there is a chance that your drive-up equipment will be exposed to salt. This can create electrical problems, rapid corrosion, or other major issues.
Finally, in the Midwest, rapidly changing temperatures can cause tubes to jam or break their seals as they shrink and expand.
Wear and tear: Cannisters are considered consumable items by some service providers as they are only designed to last a certain length of time before they break. Over time the seals can fail, which may lead to the canister getting stuck in the tube potentially with the customer’s information inside. Additionally, canisters can crack from regular impact, which can leave a branch’s equipment looking cheap or shoddy to people using the drive-up. Be sure to regularly check your canisters and replace them if you notice them wearing out or no longer moving smoothly.
Preventative repairs for drive-up equipment
A good preventative maintenance schedule can keep your drive-up operations running regularly. Creating a schedule requires thoughtful planning and insight into maintenance factors. For example, instead of having maintenance on a drive-up being done once a year just before winter as a way to prevent breakages during the cold, it may also be wise to schedule further maintenance in the spring, when everything has thawed and the machine can be cleaned of any winter salt/grime and checked for corrosion.
Ever-changing banking demands
The drive-up has had a unique impact on how banking has been done over the last century. The current pandemic is just a new demand driver for this adaptable tool.
Banks and credit unions have relied heavily on drive-up lanes to serve their customers/members safely. Cashing checks, making deposits, signing loan paperwork can all be done easily through the tubes and trays of drive-up equipment.
One recent change—affordable video technology—has been a major improvement for drive-ups. With the ability to see the consumer, a teller can easily verify the customer’s identity and perform more banking services without in-person contact. However, there are drawbacks. Video technology can make drive-ups more expensive to maintain and can create new disruptions if the technology fails when a financial institution depends on it.
Equips’ program advantage
Ultimately, the biggest change COVID-19 has brought to drive-ups is the importance of treating them as critical banking equipment and maintaining them for maximum uptime.
Equips has helped many financial institutions manage the essential parts of their branch—especially during the pandemic. Equips has a network of providers that can keep your drive-up equipment working through the storms, snow, and sickness. (You can read more about drive-up maintenance here in one of our articles.)
We are happy to help you connect with the top-ranked professionals from across the country, using our streamlined technology to communicate quickly and easily. Find out why Equips’ winning solutions are used by financial institutions both large and small.