MAC Boss Pursuing Neglected Niches

Like other ATM systems nationwide, the MAC network is confronting a crowded market, stiff competition, and questions from some members about its strategic approach.

Tapped in October to guide MAC through this critical juncture was Donald J. Gleason, who previously headed the electronic banking programs at Pittsburgh-based Mellon Bank and Arizona Bank in Phoenix.

In taking the reins at MAC - CoreStates Financial Corp.'s fastest growing business - Mr. Gleason will attempt to shore up management weakened by the departure of combative technology guru Bipin C. Shah last February. Mr. Gleason said he would also phase in a new line of teller machines and provide customers with point-of-sale products.

Sources of Growth

"You're going to see the [transaction] growth you're looking for in the next generation of ATMs, POS technology, and products," said Mr. Gleason, senior vice president.

The idea, he added, is to pinpoint and pursue niches that "no other network is working on."

Mr. Gleason was selected to head CoreStates' Electronic Payments System division. High expectations come with the job: The goal is to bolster performance at CoreStates' prized unit in an era when only the most aggressive ATM brands are expected to survive.

But the network chief believes he has a blueprint for continued success.

For one thing, he is looking to CoreStates' new Icon line of teller machines to drive transaction growth at MAC. Four banks are testing MAC's new terminals, which can cash payroll and government checks, give coins and currency in change, and issue microcoded receipts for deposits.

At branches using the new ATMs, Mr. Gleason said, the proportion of deposits made electronically has risen from 5% to 50%. (Magnetic ink character recognition, or MICR technology, reads the coding at the bottom of a check.)

In addition, CoreStates plans to begin testing in the next few weeks a combination of point-of-sale and other products that will offer "one-stop shopping."

Mr. Gleason declined to provide details, but such a product might conceivably enable customers to simultaneously withdraw cash - for example, from a savings account - and pay for retail purchases.

PHOTO : DONALD J. GLEASON is looking to phase in new teller machines.

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