Centura Banks Inc. of Rocky Mount, N.C., has become the latest to ink a regional deal to place automated teller machines at Wal-Mart Stores Inc. locations.

The holding company's principal subsidiary, Centura Bank, said it will install ATMs at the 95 Wal-Mart and Sam's Club outlets in North Carolina. The first 14 will be in place by the end of August, the rest by next February,-Centura said this week.

Centura earlier this year had begun testing ATMs at WalMarts in Greensboro and on North Carolina's Outer Banks.

Wal-Mart, the largest U.S. retailing organization, has become one of the driving forces in the placement of ATMs away from conventional banking locations.

Wal-Mart, its Sam's Club warehouse retailing affiliate, and competitors like K mart helped push the total number of instore bank branches to almost 2,200 in the first half of 1994, from 1,938 on Dec. 31.

Many in-store branches have ATMs attached. Wal-Mart, which has allowed a few full-service branches, is more broadly inviting stand-alone ATMs as a convenience to shoppers.

Boatmen's Bancshares of St. Louis announced a deal last May to install machines at 150 Wal-Mart outlets in nine states, and several other regional agreements followed.

"Our arrangement with WalMart positions us with a highly successful national retailer that has great locations and a large walk-in customer base," said Robert Mauldin, Centura Banks chairman and. chief executive. "It gives us another way to deliver service to the customer and gives our customers more outlets."

The $4.1 billion-asset banking company is aggressively moving into alternative delivery systems. The Wal-Mart ATMs will give Centura a presence in 30 new communities, and a total of 194 machines statewide.

The bank also offers BillMaster, which permits bill payments by phone or personal computer, and it will introduce a full-service bank-by-phone program, marketed as Centura Highway, on Aug. 1.

"Research shows that customers don't have time to come to the bank, so we are trying to make the bank more convenient to the customer," Mr. Mauldin said.

Subscribe Now

Access to authoritative analysis and perspective and our data-driven report series.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.