Motor bank - Drive In Banking

On the 17 December 1954 BNZ opened New Zealand’s first Motor bank. The Motor bank enabled bank customers to conduct their everyday banking transactions from the comfort of their car using the specially designed Teller kiosks. The first Motor bank was part of the Vivian Street branch in Wellington, situated on the corner of Vivian and Taranaki Streets.

The Motor bank was opened by the Mayor of Wellington, Mr R. L . Macalister who stated ‘I feel that I am helping to make banking history in New Zealand’ as he cut the ribbon. The Mayor, Mr H. R. H. Chalmers, Chairman of directors of the Bank of New Zealand and the Deputy Chairman Mr J. Grierson were the first to use the facilities.

The Motor bank featured three tellers’ windows. Customers could make deposits or cash cheques from the comfort of their cars. Transactions were by the way of a sliding cooper drawer, made especially in Wellington for the purpose, and operated by the Tellers foot. The Tellers had a direct line to the other BNZ Wellington branches so customers from the other branches could use the new Motor bank.

Additional security features for the Tellers included windows which were bullet proof and an alarm system which could be triggered by the tellers’ foot which alerted the Manager and Accountants of the need for assistance. The fact that customers had to reverse out of the drive-in bays once they had finished their transaction was also seen as a deterrent to any robbers wanting to make a ‘quick getaway’. Communication to customers was through a two-way speaker system.

One of the main attractions of the Motor bank was that customers no longer had to try to find a parking space in the heavily congested area of the city centre to do their banking. Commercial customers found it particularly handy as they could safely conduct their business without having to leave their vehicle.

Physically disabled customers also found the Motor bank very helpful including those who were unable to drive but used taxis. The service was widely advertised by the Crippled Children’s Society and featured in a documentary film dealing with facilities for the disabled.

Further Motorbanks were then introduced around the dominion.

In 1965 the former Vivian Street branch and Motorbank were demolished to make way for a new larger building. The new purpose-built building was to house the banks new IBM computer, the banks Stationery Department and the Vivian Street Branch. Two drive in Motorbank kiosks were also installed.

In January 1987 the Vivian Street Motorbank was closed, 40 years after it was first opened. The high cost of maintaining the Motorbank was the primary factor in its closing.

Over the years the bank has found many new and innovative ways to provide an efficient service to its customers including phone and internet banking. With the advent of technology you are now able to do most of your banking from anywhere, on your phone.

Vivian St drive through plans premises 1954

Vivian Street Motor bank plans 1954 - 1954

Motor bank brochure Vivian St cover

The cover of the Vivian Street Motor bank leaflet - 1954

Motor bank brochure Vivian St inside

BNZ Vivian Street Motor bank leaflet - 1954

Vivian Street Drive in Tellers built in 1966 1

Vivian Street Motor bank, Drive in Teller Kiosks - 1954

Vivian Street Drive in Tellers built in 1966 2

The 1966 Vivian Street Motor bank Teller boxes - 1966