San Francisco bank branches cite public safety in ATM night closures 

Dangerous conditions on some streets in San Francisco have caused at least one bank to close ATMs after dark, while others prefer to allow after-hours access to machine vestibules only for customers with valid cards.

At least three Wells Fargo locations in The City shut down their machines at night, according to the bank.

“We have no formal policy in place, but it’s based on business need and a case-by-case basis when working with local police,” said Holly Rockwood, a Wells Fargo spokeswoman. “We are looking at places where customer safety might be a concern and we just don’t want to put them in a situation.”

Eileen Leveckis, a spokeswoman for Chase Bank, said the company furnishes each newly built branch location with a locked door that can only be accessed by customers with valid ATM cards.

Two Wells Fargo ATM kiosks in the Mission district along Mission Street at 22nd and 16th streets close at 8 and 11 p.m. respectively, according to bank tellers at those locations.

“There have been a lot of robberies in this area,” said a teller at the bank on Mission and 22nd streets.

Other than the two Mission ATMs, Rockwood said another ATM on Market Street near the Civic Center also shuts down at night. The closures were noticed by bloggers at Mission Mission, which noted the neighborhood’s heavy reliance on cash for bars and restaurants and that “this makes it quite difficult for any Wells Fargo customers enjoying an evening out to avoid the $5+ penalty for using non-Wells ATMs.”

According to the Wells Fargo website, ATM fees are $2.50 in the U.S. and $5 for international locations. Other banks may also charge customers for outside-bank transactions.

The blog post also noted that some of the machine shutdowns didn’t involve a closed gate — which both locations have — but rather a simple “out of service” message on the ATM screens.

Police say they haven’t been involved in suggesting any of the shutdowns.

“I’ve asked around,” Sgt. Michael Andraychak said. “No one has heard anything about this.”

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Dan Schreiber

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Saturday, Oct 3, 2015


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