municipalities ready to pay for ATMs

More and more mayors are ready to pay several tens of thousands of euros to armored personnel carriers to install ATMs in their municipalities, to make up for the closure of bank branches or to support the commercial activities of some neighbourhoods.

70,000 euros for the installation

When the post office located in the Plateau district of Viry-Châtillon, in Essonne, closed a few years ago, “people took it as desertion”, says Mayor Jean-Marie Vilain (UDI). A year and a half later, the bank branch of this district classified as a priority by city politics disappeared, the group preferred to open one in the city center, where other brands are already present, thus depriving this district of any means of withdrawing cash.

If the nearest gas station is not far away as the crow flies, you still have to cross the highway, says the mayor. After unsuccessfully approaching several banks, the mayor called on the Swedish company Loomis to make available, against payment from the municipality, one of its ATMs, which should be operational by the end of the year and could be used by 8,000 people. people.

Cost of the intervention for the municipality: over 70,000 euros for the installation work, the automaton which requires the construction of a technical room, and 1,600 euros per month for the maintenance and management costs of the machine, a price that can decrease with the ‘increase in the number of withdrawals. Fortunately, the municipality was able to benefit from a subsidy from the Greater Paris metropolis equal to 50% of the bill.

Continued decline in ATMs

Today Loomis, which started this business in 2021, has installed 136 ATMs in France and aims for a total of 300 by the end of 2023. These ATMs independent of any banking network “showed strong growth momentum in 2021”, he said. underlined the Banque de France in a July report. “The park almost tripled between 2020 and 2021, reaching more than 300 automatons.”

At the same time, the total number of distributors, all types combined, decreased by almost a thousand over the same period, from 48,831 to 47,853, a decrease of 2% and even almost 10% compared to 2018. When questioned, the However, the French banking federation specifies that in 2021 200 ATMs were opened in municipalities with fewer than 500 inhabitants and that France has almost a third of bank branches in the euro area.

Outsourcing and pooling

If the central bank regularly reminds that more than 99% of the population is within a 15-minute drive of an ATM, this distance is not trivial for everyone. “The need for a distributor still exists, despite contactless (payment), which has become the payment method of choice for the French after the health crisis, and not only in rural areas, defends Mr. Vilain. Especially for vulnerable populations who closely monitor their spending.

The campaigns were the first to solicit the bearers of funds but today “this need (for an ATM) has once again become a priority to revitalize the suburbs of large cities”, underlines Pierre-Yves Locatelli, commercial director of Loomis France. “People generally shop around the distributor,” which benefits dealers, adds Stéphanie Courtois, director of marketing, communications and CSR at Brink’s France, another major independent DAB player in France, with Loomis and Euronet. The revenue from this activity is still negligible for these companies, which already operate tens of thousands of ATMs on behalf of the banks on a daily basis, but this allows them to guarantee their core business, which depends on the use of cash.

For several years, banks have outsourced cash management and BPCE Group even sold its ATM network to Brink’s. Next stage from the beginning of 2023: the pooling of distributors of BNP Paribas, Crédit Mutuel and Société Générale, which represent around 40% of the ATM access offer.

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