Expanding its presence in the Northeast, CoreStates Financial Corp.'s Mac network has signed up National Westminster Bank USA.

The three-year contract will give NatWest customers access to more than 7,000 ATMs and about 10,000 retail point-of-sale locations, such as supermarkets and gas stations, that are reached by Mac. A NatWest spokesman said the deal improves the bank's ability to deliver services to customers.

The deal is somewhat unusual in that NatWest is a part owner of the New York Switch Corp., Hackensack, N.J., which runs the NYCE network. NatWest will continue as a NYCE member.

Mac and NYCE are fighting head to head to win bank customers in New York and New Jersey, because many banks have branches in both states. Over the past two years, Mac members based in New Jersey, such as Midlantic Corp. and First Fidelity Bancorp., have joined NYCE.

CoreStates officials said the addition of NatWest brings Mac's cardholder base to 18.5 million. NYCE has about 19.8 million cardholders.

NatWest Bank operates about 300 ATMs in New York and New Jersey, with about 125 of them in the New York metropolitan area. The bank plans to go live with the Mac network in September.

CoreStates recently formed a joint venture with Banc One Corp., Columbus, Ohio; PNC Financial Corp., Pittsburgh; and Society Corp., Cleveland, to consolidate their ATM, point-of-sale, and other bank card services.

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