Bank of America is set to replace PNC as the official on-campus banking option for Seton Hall. After more than five years with PNC, which pulled its on-campus office and one of its two ATMs in May 2014, Seton Hall is set to establish a five-year lease, plus two one-year extensions, with Bank of America, according to Stephen Graham, chief financial officer, and Robert McLaughlin, associate vice president for finance.
Both men are members of the evaluation committee, which was in charge of the whole process. The University had a multi-year license agreement with PNC Bank to provide three ATMs with no transaction fees. Starting this June, Bank of America will replace the ATM in the University Center with one from Bank of America, as well as install a Bank of America ATM in Xavier Hall.
A third machine will be installed on Seton Hall’s Law School campus in Newark, NJ. When its contract was set to expire last May, PNC requested permission to impose a transaction fee for non-PNC card holders for their next extension term. According to Graham and McLaughlin, the University had sent out requests for proposals in March 2014 but after PNC’s request to charge a transaction fee, the department looked for a more cost-effective banking alternative.
Recognizing the need for on-campus ATM service, and “to avoid disruption to students and employees during this period,” SHU extended for one year, to May 31, 2015, the PNC lease for the single remaining ATM in the University Center and absorbed the new transaction fee while they searched for a better option, according to Graham and McLaughlin.
Graham and McLaughlin received proposals from eight potential banks including Bank of America Corporation, Investors Bank, Chase, Wells Fargo, Santander Bank, TD Bank, Capital One and PNC. Graham and McLaughlin said they narrowed it down to the top three choices based on pricing and level of service, then made the decision in February with the approval of the executive cabinet.
While it will have no banking personnel on-campus, Bank of America will start attending University events, such as freshman movein day, to offer consultation and information about services offered. Graham said that Bank of America is offering a service that he expects to be particularly helpful to students: students under 23 years old with a valid ID and unofficial transcript or proof of acceptance letter can set up a no-fee bank account, meaning they will not have a first deposit minimum or a creation-fee for the account.
Bank of America has eight branches within a three mile radius of the South Orange campus. Additionally, Bank of America was the number one used bank of all University employees. Graham said this will help make a smoother transition for University banking for things such as payroll accounts and purchasing cards, which are for employees to use for low-budget University-related spending. This announcement may come as a relief after service at the only ATM on campus was down this past week.
“For a campus of this many students, there shouldn’t just be one ATM,” said Colin Kimberlin, a freshman Aquinas Hall resident.
He said the fact that the only ATM was down was a major inconvenience. He said he had to walk into South Orange Village to get money. Graham recognized this and said it was another reason that motivated his department to secure a new service provider.
As for the broken ATM, McLaughlin explained that there is a sensor in the machine that is supposed to notify PNC when something goes wrong. The bank then sends out a technician. McLaughlin said the University is still investigating why PNC’s system did not function the way it was supposed to this time. He said that when he found out about the malfunctioning machine Tuesday afternoon, he notified the bank and a technician was sent within the hour to fix the problem.
Emily Balan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.