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The First Drive-in Bank

Many people withdraw or deposit money these days by using the drive-through window at a bank. This idea, however, is more than 60 years old.

The date was November 12, 1946. The place was the Exchange National Bank of Chicago. The innovation was what was called a "drive-in bank."

America at that time was a land of opportunity and promise. It was also a land that was about to be dominated by the automobile.

In the years to come, the idea of "drive-in" would expand to include all kinds of things, including gas stations, movie theaters, and grocery stores. It would also, thanks to the Exchange National Bank of Chicago, include a drive-in bank.

Tellers at the Exchange National Bank could sit behind bullet-proof glass. Customers could deposit their money or receive their withdrawal money through sliding drawers. These things seem common to us today, but they were brand new in 1946.

The customers appreciated the new convenience. They didn't have to get out of their cars to withdraw or deposit money. The bank liked the idea because it meant more money for them, since customers were more inclined to deposit their money in a place that offered such a convenience.

The idea spread. Within a few years, drive-through banking was a common sight across the country.

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Social Studies for Kids
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David White