First it was juice bars. Now it's ATMs.

Unable to muscle its way into supermarkets, a Los Angeles community bank is installing its automated teller machines in fitness centers.

Peoples Bank recently installed ATMs in 20 L.A. Fitness Sports Clubs and is planning to add six more. With many of its customers nearing retirement, the bank said it made sense to contract with the health club chain as a way to reach out to younger depositors.

"Fitness clubs tend to attract people that are younger and are very disciplined about working out three or four times a week," said William Flader, executive vice president for retail banking. "That's two times a week more than they'll go to the grocery store."

The $2.3 billion-asset bank is counting on those fitness-conscious customers to borrow money as well. It recently began test-marketing automated loan machines in six L.A. Fitness clubs.

The partnership evolved when L.A. Fitness, one of the region's largest health club chains, and Peoples Bank were both eyeing a site for potential expansion.

L.A. Fitness ultimately secured the property, but the chance meeting led to an opportunity for both companies.

Though the fitness center ATMs have yet to generate as much transaction volume as the bank's on-site ATMs, they are making younger people more aware of Peoples Bank, Mr. Flader said.

The bank is also earning additional fee income by imposing surcharges on noncustomers who use the machines.

And L.A. Fitness is benefiting because the ATMs give members instant access to cash-which has boosted business at the juice bar, the club pro shop, and massage tables. On several occasions the ATMs have even helped the club's sales staff close a deal, said Chad Abramo, facility license director at L.A. Fitness. "If people come in to join but don't have any money on them, we can just direct them to the ATM," Mr. Abramo said. "The managers and the membership salespeople love that."

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