Whenever yet another institution announces a major automated teller machine deal, my firm receives a flurry of calls from concerned bankers who ask, "How many ATMs are enough? How many are too many? How soon will the ATM market be saturated?"

To help retail banking executives grapple with such questions, we have devised a benchmark, which I like to call the Kellogg Quotient, to measure ATM coverage and convenience. Like the efficiency ratio and other metrics that normalize for institution size, the measurement enables quick cross- industry comparisons.

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