Banc One Ohio Casts Its Lot With Money Station ATMs

Breaking from its go-it-alone tradition in the electronic banking business, Banc One Ohio Corp. on Tuesday joined the Money Station network of automated teller machines and point-of-sale terminals.

The principal subsidiary of Columbus, Ohio-based Banc One Corp. had previously shied away from membership in the region's major multibank network.

The bank does belong to the national Plus and Cirrus ATM systems. And, as a result of acquisitions, it has retained memberships in regional networks outside of Ohio.

Banc One's entry into Money Station leaves Citibank in New York as the only major commercial bank still not active in a regional shared network. The Citicorp subsidiary does not participate in the New York Cash Exchange, which is owned by several major competitors.

Citicorp recently relaxed its independent ATM stance by joining Cirrus.

Banc One Ohio will participate in Money Station Inc., but will not be an equity partner with the several other Ohio banks that control the company.

Officials of Banc One said they decided to join the shared network so that the customers of four Ohio affiliates of PNC Financial Corp. -- which Banc One plans to acquire this year -- will continue to have access to the Money Station network.

"With everything else that's going on, we didn't want to wean them from activities they've been involved in," said John Russell, executive vice president of marketing and a spokesman for Banc One Corp.

The bank will also earn "significant" fee income by joining the network, Mr. Russell said. The fee income comes from customers of other banks using Banc One's 400 ATMs in Ohio.

|Solidifies Our Position'

With the participation of Banc One, all the major Ohio-based banks now participate in Money Station, with 3,410 ATMs, one of the 10 largest regional networks in the country. The network ranked sixth in transaction volume as of last September. according to Bank Network News, a publication of Faulkner & Gray.

"It certainly solidifies our position in our market area," said A. Edward Gough, president of Money Station.

Banc One expects to complete its acquisition of the four PNC units in mid-September. The banks, which are located in northeastern and central Ohio, have about $1.7 billion in deposits and serve consumers and midsize corporations.

Banc One Ohio will bring 400 ATMs to the 3,410 already on the Money Station system. The bank processes about 2 million ATM transactions a month.

Mr. Gough said the addition of Banc One could raise network transaction volume by 10%.

Money Station's Mr. Gough said that Banc One's point-of-sale business would profit from participation in the shared network. However, Banc One's Mr. Russell said that point-of-sale business was not a factor in deciding to join Money Station.

Mr. Gough said that Banc One and Money Station "are both very interested in direct debit POS, and this will further both our goals." Money Stations' POS volume has doubled from last summer to 100,000 transactions per month, Mr. Gough said.

"They've opened up the 8 million cardholders of Money Station to their merchants," Mr. Gough said.

Banc One has a robust point-of-sale processing business, with about 20,000 merchant clients and some 47,000 direct debit terminals deployed throughout the Midwest.

However, Mr. Russell said the vast majority of its POS business was outside of Ohio, and would not be part of Money Station.

Despite its new affiliation, Banc One will not change its overall ATM-sharing strategy, Mr. Russell said.

Huntington Bancorp., National City Corp., Society Corp., Star Banc Corp., Central Bancorp., Dollar Bank, and Fifth Third Bancorp. are all equity members of Money Station.

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