First Niagara Financial Group Inc. is putting its name on automated teller machines in 95 Sheetz Inc. convenience stores in western Pennsylvania, and said it will not charge users, no matter where they bank.

Bank-branded ATMs in retail stores are usually surcharge-free only to the institution's customers, but the Lockport, N.Y., company is trying to make a big splash in Pennsylvania.

The ATM rollout is expected to be completed next month — around the same time First Niagara closes on the purchase of 57 former Pittsburgh-area National City branches (including 69 ATMs) from PNC Financial Services Group Inc.

One reason for the ATM branding is to make up for the inconvenience to former National City customers who will have "access to a smaller number of branches and ATMs" after the branch deal closes, J. Lanier Little, First Niagara's executive vice president of retail banking, said Monday. First Niagara also sees the move as a way to market to prospective customers, he said. The machines will be like "95 billboards."

The $11.6 billion-asset company is also buying Harleysville National Corp. in eastern Pennsylvania, which has 83 branches, in a deal expected to close next year.

First Niagara also has an ATM branding relationship with a grocer in its New York market, and it used to have one there with a car wash chain, Little said. The Sheetz ATMs will be the first that are free for noncustomers of First Niagara, he said.

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