It might be the ultimate early-morning eye-opener: imagine stopping in Dunkin' Donuts for a morning coffee and opening a checking account at the same time.
It's not a far-fetched scenario, as Citizens Bank this month opened the first full-service bank branch in a Dunkin' Donuts shop. And if the venture succeeds, the bank says it may roll out more partnerships with the breakfast-treat chain.
Citizens, which is owned by the Royal Bank of Scotland Group (RBS), opened the branch this month in Bellingham, Mass., a suburb southwest of Boston. Part of the bank's strategy is to provide banking beyond traditional hours, with the Dunkin' Donuts branch open seven days a week and from 6:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. on weekdays.
"We offer full service, so it isn't just to collect checks," Martin Bischoff, head of Citizens Financial Group's consumer and business banking, said in an interview. "Customers can sit down and have a full review."
Early feedback from customers is positive, with some saying they like the site and the convenience, Bischoff said. Will Citizens extend the service to more Dunkin' Donuts? "I hope so," he said. "II hope it'll be really successful and customers will find it useful, but it's too early to make a commitment. We'll track it."
It's the latest evolution of a trend that picked up steam in the 1990s: in-store banks. Remember when your local grocery store suddenly added a bank window, allowing consumers to do some banking while picking up milk and eggs? It worked by offering one-stop shopping for consumers. Yet some big banks have slowed their grocery branch openings in recent years because of the stores' cramped locations, according to the Boston Globe.
That may not be an issue for the Bellingham location, which has two private offices as well as three teller windows. To lure customers into using the new branch, Citizens says it's offering a one-month coffee subscription for new checking accounts and the chance to win a year of free Dunkin' Donuts coffee.
The allure of Dunkin' Donuts was one of the reasons for the partnership. "It's a great brand, and a great fit for us," Bischoff said.
Want a Dunkaccino with your deposit? Bank at Dunkin' Donuts