New Study Shows Independent Operators Provide Majority of U.S. ATMs & Serve Under-Banked
WASHINGTON, D.C. February 16, 2018-As part of Congressional testimony offered during yesterday’s hearing before the U.S. House Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit, Chaired by Congressman Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-MO), The National ATM Council (NAC) submitted the findings of a new independent study on the state of the U.S. ATM marketplace, entitled Location Study of ATMs in U.S. by Ownership, 2018. This detailed analysis provides a clear picture of the distribution of both independent and bank-owned ATMs throughout America. Performed by geo-economists at the highly regarded University of North Florida's Coggin College of Business, the study offers unique insights into one of the world's largest and most dynamic ATM markets.
According to the Location Study, there are 470,135 ATMs in service today in the U.S., with banks and other financial institutions accounting for 191,741 of the U.S. ATM terminals, and the remaining 278,394 ATMs in America owned and operated by independent "non-bank" ATM providers and merchants. These ATM operators vary widely in size, scope, and geography, maintaining ATM terminals in a majority of locations in the U.S., including convenience stores, supermarkets, restaurants, taverns, hotels, shopping malls, and a host of other public locations.
Perhaps most significantly, the researchers found that independent ATMs fill an important niche in areas traditionally under-served or not served at all by traditional banking institutions. These "cash deserts" include both low and medium income core urban centers, as well as sparsely populated rural regions of the country.
As concluded by the researchers, "Based on our findings, it is expected that independent ATMs serve areas with higher concentrations of unbanked/underbanked citizens who rely on cash and therefore have a greater need for convenient access to cash". As also noted in the report, banks have continued to close branches in less profitable areas, with some 1,700 branches shuttered between 2016 and 2017 alone. Based largely on the cost-benefit analysis of individual branches, these closures have left many less profitable communities bank-less, creating an even more vital need for independent ATM businesses to serve these areas.
The NAC board and its membership of independent ATM operators commissioned the study to provide reliable data about this unique industry sector, and to promote a greater understanding by the public and local/state/federal policymakers, regarding the important and beneficial role non-bank ATMs play across the nation today.