Mitsubishi Orders Hundreds OfNCR Teller Machines

Mitsubishi Bank Ltd. has a contract to buy over 250 self-service banking machines from NCR Corp.

Under terms of the $15.9 million agreement, signed this month, Mitsubishi - the fourth-largest Japanese bank in deposits - will receive 53 cash dispensers and 210 "super" automated teller machines.

The latter are sophisticated terminals specially designed to meet demands unique to the Japanese market.

The Mitsubishi contract is an example of a how large financial institutions in Japan are attempting to get a jump on one another through automated retail products.

It is also an optimistic signal to U.S. technology companies wishing to capitalize on the heated competition.

A Strategic Option in Japan

ATMs have become such common fixtures in the United States that it is hard for any financial institution here to use them for strategic advantage.

The Japanese market, however, is much less saturated with the machines, so there is more latitude for creative ways to deploy them.

According to the Nilson Report, a newsletter that tracks ATM shipments, sales of ATMs in Japan are skyrocketing.

In 1989 the top three worldwide vendors of ATMs increased their shipments to Japan by an average of more than 50%.

Modest Increase

By contrast, U.S. shipments increased only modestly in 1991 after dropping in both 1989 and 1990.

NCR, a subsidiary of American Telephone & Telegraph Co., led the pack with a 77% increase in shipments to Japan. Similar numbers are expected in 1991.

Hirokazu Sonada, an executive account manager at Mitsubishi Bank in Japan, said the bank purchased the ATMs and cash dispensers to gain an edge over its competitors for urban retail business.

"The ATMs will provide [our] customers with advanced, unattended self-service capabilities that are in particular demand on Sundays and holidays in Japan," he said.

Special Design

Most of the ATMs ordered by Mitsubishi are specially designed for use in Japan. The NCR 5086 models - called "super ATMs" by the Dayton-based company - handle the traditional ATM functions of giving account balances and dispensing cash.

Beyond those basic transactions, the 5086s also accept deposits of cash, coins and checks, and can issue and update savings passbooks.

Also, deposits of cash are automatically transferred to the cash-dispensing mechanism for issuance to other customers at the machine.

To reduce maintenance costs and security risks associated with replenishing ATMs, most ATMs in Japan operate on a schedule of 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on weekdays and 9 to 5 on weekends.

Perhaps in reaction to pressure from consumer advocate groups, many of the major Japanese banks have begun to extend the hours of operation and to purchase more ATMs.

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