Sanwa Bank California said it will stop charging "foreign" automated teller machine fees to customers with certain accounts.
In order to qualify for the free service at other banks' ATMs, customers must have a Sanwa One Market Value Account, which combines checking and savings, and a minimum daily balance of $3,500.
A bank spokesman said even though Sanwa is the fourth-largest bank in California, its ATM network is far smaller than those of BankAmerica Corp. and Wells Fargo & Co. BankAmerica owns the nation's largest ATM network, and Wells is No. 3.
Sanwa's move is an attempt to remain competitive in an environment of rising fees for services at other institutions, said the spokesman. He added that the bank does not plan to levy surcharges on non-customers who use its ATMs.