Summit Bancorp has become the first New Jersey bank to take an equity position in NYCE Corp., the Northeast's top automated teller machine network.

The move by the $28 billion-asset Princeton bank is to be announced officially today.

NYCE chairman and chief executive officer Dennis Lynch said he was "very pleased" that Summit, a participant in the competing MAC system, has taken a stake in the network, which is based in Woodcliff Lake, N.J.

Summit is the first addition to the NYCE board since the network merged with Connecticut-based Yankee 24 in 1994.

Though many of its financial institutions have become NYCE members, New Jersey has long been regarded as MAC territory. Summit plans to maintain its membership in both networks.

The past two years have seen a major consolidation of banks in the Northeast. NYCE's board has shrunk by four as Chemical Banking Corp., Shawmut National Corp., National Westminster Bancorp, and BayBanks Inc. were either purchased by or merged with other institutions.

Summit joins seven others on the NYCE board: Bank of New York Co., Bank of Boston Corp., Chase Manhattan Corp., Citicorp, Fleet Financial Group, Marine Midland Banks Inc., and People's Bank of Bridgeport, Conn.

"It's healthy to add a new voice to the decision-making process," said Mr. Lynch.

"Taking an equity position in NYCE enables us to help set the direction of the rapidly unfolding electronic banking environment," said Sabry J. McKoul, senior executive vice president of retail banking for Summit.

"Summit is very into alternative delivery services," said the new NYCE board member. Ownership of "one of the largest shared EFT networks in the U.S. fits into our strategy."

He noted that NYCE's forays into home banking and Internet services are attractive. He also said the federal government's mandate for electronic delivery of welfare and other benefit payments is a growth opportunity for NYCE.

Summit owns 500 ATMs and claims the largest share of New Jersey's deposits, at 13.4%. That would increase to 16.1% with the pending acquisition of Collective Bancorp.

Liam Carmody, president of Carmody & Bloom, a consulting firm in Ridgewood, N.J., said Summit's equity stake is "a good move for NYCE. It locks up a big New Jersey bank in the NYCE camp."

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