Bank of Bird-in-Hand debuts plans for mobile branch
Bank of Bird-in-Hand is working on a bank branch on wheels that could start rolling through Lancaster and Chester counties early next year.
The 29-foot-long mobile branch will include a built-in ATM, walk-up customer service window and room inside for a bank employee to open accounts and conduct transactions.
Bank of Bird-in-Hand expects to pay about $165,000 for the unit, said Lori Maley, president and CEO of the Leacock Township, Lancaster County-based institution. She believes it will prove a worthwhile investment.
The bank does a significant amount of business in Plain communities, meaning that even as it has developed its online presence, it has maintained a robust base of customers who still prefer courier and bank-by-mail services.
The mobile branch is a way to meet those customers in the communities where they live and do business.
"A lot of banks today pretty much tell customers what services they think they need, but this is Bank of Bird-in-Hand listening to what services the customers are asking for," Maley said.
The bank has approval to operate in 10 municipalities, mostly in eastern Lancaster County. The branch will likely visit each town according to a set schedule and could potentially do business in places like parking lots of companies belonging to some of the bank's customers, Maley said.
Maley expects the unit to operate most days and hours the bank is open, minus an hour at the beginning and end of each day for travel time.
Mobile bank branches are unusual, especially in Pennsylvania, but not entirely unheard of. Maley remembers a similar unit that one of her previous employers took to special events in the late 1990s, and has heard of units operating in other states.
Bank of Bird-in-Hand received a final OK from state regulators Friday to begin work on its mobile branch, which will include an alarm system and other measures to ensure employee and customer safety, Maley said. The unit is being constructed by Mobile Facilities LLC, an Indiana-based company that specializes in portable banks.
Maley hopes to see the branch hit the road in the first quarter of 2018.