By John Lynds
On a cold winter morning East Boston Savings CEO Richard Gavegnano was sitting in traffic in New York City and witnessed something amazing and had an epiphany.
“There I was in New York for a meeting,” said Gavegnano. “I was stuck in traffic and I looked out the window, it had to be 10 degrees out, and there were all these people lined up to get food at food trucks near a park. There had to be hundreds of people.”
Gavegnano thought to himself, “If people are willing to stand in line in freezing weather at a food truck, why not an East Boston Savings Bank on wheels.”
When you think ‘mobile’ banking, you think of being able to do many transactions like paying bills, transferring funds or even cashing a check through a phone app or computer but Gavegnano wants to change the way we think about mobile banking.
“I’m old school,” said Gavegnano. “I like to deposit my checks with a teller, I like to be inside a bank and there a lot of people still out there that bank with us every day that do the same. So I thought why not bring the bank to them.”
Gavegnano plans to launch a mobile branch by May once state regulators sign off on his plan. The mobile bank would include a full staff of tellers, loan officers and of course a driver and will feature a teller window, ATM, and space for two desks, cameras and an alarm system for security.
If he gets the green light from the state division of banks, Gavegnano said he envisions the ‘bank of wheels’ to be out at various locations throughout the area.
“We already got commitments from high schools, retirement and assisted living facilities and manufacturing facilities,” said Gavegnano. “This would allow us to increase our visibility while exposing customers and future customers to the products and services we provide.”
Gavegnano said EBSB, which went public in 2014, has always been a big bank with a ‘community bank’ mentality.
“Through our committed partners the mobile bank can serve as an educational tool for high schoolers looking to learn how to save money, invest money and budget for things like car loans,” said Gavegnano. “We also want to be at places like retirement homes where some of our customers are unable to get out and down to a branch to do their banking.”
Gavegnano said he plans to unveil the mobile bank at car shows, parades and special events in Eastie and throughout neighborhoods EBSB serves.
According to Gavegnano Indiana-based Mobile Facilities is manufacturing the vehicle for EBSB and will cost between $120,000 to $220,000 depending on the size, which run from 22 ft to 40 ft.