Mills to set up new ATM on campus

By
December 3, 2007

Mills College will install a new Bank of the West ATM on Dec. 13 in the Rothwell Center hallway, just outside The Campanil’s Office.

Associate Vice President of Campus Facilities and Building Maintenance Karen Maggio said the College previously took measures to soften the effect of not having an ATM on campus. Instead of requiring cash only payments, students have credit card options at the bookstore and dining areas.

Despite these efforts, Maggio agreed that credit options only go so far. “Sometimes you just need cash,” she said.

In summer 2006, Joan Braun, Mills’ former acting vice president for Finance and Administration and treasurer of the College, began talking with Bank of the West about installing an ATM on campus. Braun said the contract was signed the second week of October this year.

The last campus ATM, which had been located in the corridor between the post office and bookstore, was removed in 2001 due to vandalism. According to Maggio, two ATMs were once available on campus, but she did not know when. Both machines were vandalized and one was even unbolted from its foundations and pushed into Lyon’s creek.

To prevent such destruction, Maggio said that the new ATM will be equipped with an alarm system and video camera monitored by the bank.

Maggio said the ATM and the added security it entails will not decrease access to Rothwell Center for the members of the Mills community who have keys to places like Mary Atkins Lounge or The Campanil Office.

Sophomore Chelsea DeSouza said the addition of an ATM to the campus would be beneficial. “I’m definitely excited about it because it’s really inconvenient to go all the way to Berkeley just to get some cash,” she said.

She also said that having easy access to cash will increase the opportunity for people to support campus clubs and sports teams when these organizations hold bake sales and other fundraisers on campus.

Senior Nadia Ghani said the College needs a campus ATM, but her hopes are limited. “Knowing Mills, it probably won’t work,” she said.

Sophomore Lisa Kelly said she never uses an ATM unless it is from her bank, Wells Fargo, because she does not want extra charges.”I’d rather use my debit card or my points,” she said.

The surcharge for ATM users without a Bank of the West account will be about $1.50 – $2.00, according to Braun. She said that this fee is equal to the amount any other ATM charges for withdrawals.

Braun said that the usual monthly cost of operating an ATM would be in the range of $17,000 to $18,000.

However, she also said that she and Bank of the West Vice President and Senior Relationship Manager Nikki Schroder came up with a solution that Braun referred to as a “least cost option.”

According to Braun, the campus has commercial accounts at Bank of the West. Although the bank charges Mills College for transaction fees, the College also earns credit for the money that is still in the accounts each day. Sometimes, the college has a surplus of credits that can offset the transaction fee costs on other days. These credits disappear at the end of the month, and a new credit tally begins for the following month.

In the College’s five-year ATM contract with Bank of the West, both parties agreed that leftover credits at the end of the month would be used to offset the ATM’s operating costs, according to Braun. “This is money that an institution ordinarily wouldn’t be able to access,” she said. “Kind of like cellphone minutes.”

“It’s a win-win situation,” she added. “It gives us a service and it’s a productive use of credits.”

The ATM will be accessible when the Rothwell Center is open. According to Director of Public Safety Michael Lopez, these hours are Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to approximately 10:00 p.m. He said the Center is usually closed on Saturdays and Sundays.

However, she also said that she and Bank of the West Vice President and Senior Relationship Manager Nikki Schroder came up with a solution that Braun referred to as a “least cost option.”

According to Braun, the campus has commercial accounts at Bank of the West. Although the bank charges Mills College for transaction fees, the College also earns credit for the money that is still in the accounts each day. Sometimes, the college has a surplus of credits that can offset the transaction fee costs on other days. These credits disappear at the end of the month, and a new credit tally begins for the following month.

In the College’s five-year ATM contract with Bank of the West, both parties agreed that leftover credits at the end of the month would be used to offset the ATM’s operating costs, according to Braun. “This is money that an institution ordinarily wouldn’t be able to access,” she said. “Kind of like cell phone minutes.”

The ATM will be accessible when the Rothwell Center is open. According to Director of Public Safety Michael Lopez, these hours are Monday through Friday from 6:30 a.m. to approximately 10:00 p.m. He said the Center is usually closed on Saturdays and Sundays.


Mills to set up new ATM on campus was published on December 3, 2007 in News

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