MOFT: Episode 6 (Chase’s New ATMs)

It doesn’t take much for a bank to make me happy. Give me online access, a good interest rate, a bunch of branches, and I’m all good. Heck, lately I’m just thrilled when my chosen banking institutions don’t implode and go boom.

But just because I’m easily satisfied doesn’t mean a bank often gets my juices flowing. Yet that’s exactly what happened this week as my main bank, JP Morgan Chase, installed sweet new ATMs that take the latest MOFT (My One Favorite Thing) title. I don’t know if Chase used TARP money to finance these new contraptions, but if so, consider it money well spent!

What’s so great about these new ATMs? It’s all about the deposits, baby. It used to be that whenever I wanted to deposit a check, I’d have to stand in line at the counter with all the deposit slips and envelopes and wait until one of the few chained pens that actually still had ink in them became free. I’d then fill out a bunch of uncomfortably personal information – account numbers, address, etc. – with strangers looking over my shoulder (waiting for their own shot with that elusive working pen), before getting back in line to wait for an ATM. Sure, the process only took several minutes, but my time is valuable, ya hear.

So imagine my delight when I stop by my nearest Chase branch and see these fancy new ATMs, which will take your loose checks, sans envelopes or deposit slips. Shove a bunch of them all together in the slot and watch the machine somehow magically decode the amount of each check (sometimes it fails to read handwriting and asks you to manually type in the amount – I was tempted to put in one meeeeelioon dollars, but somehow didn’t think my girlfriend had that much in her account). The ATM will even print your receipt with images of the deposited checks.

Ok, maybe it’s not very impressive. But all you hear about lately is how stupid bankers have been and how they’re responsible for much of the economic mess this country is in. And I just want to give props where props are due.

Though Chase yesterday reported its fourth-quarter profit fell 76 percent from the year-ago period, the bank remains in an enviably solid position, having acted the least stupidly during the mortgage and credit bubble. And now they are exploiting their relative largesse by placing themselves squarely at the forefront of cutting-edge ATM technology. Bravo, Chase … This check’s for you!

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