SunTrust replaces Wells Fargo as official bank of Atlanta airport

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SunTrust Banks is now the official bank of Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, the company announced Wednesday.

Atlanta’s city council voted this month to give the $205 billion-asset SunTrust the right to open a bank branch, up to 16 ATMs and a live video teller machine inside the world’s busiest airport.

"Our partnership with Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport gives us the opportunity to serve the 104 million travelers and 63,000 airport employees" who navigate the airport each day, Mark Chancy, co-chief operating officer and consumer segment executive for SunTrust, said in a press release.

SunTrust replaces Wells Fargo as the airport’s official bank. Wells closed its branch inside the airport last year, citing declining revenues from branch and ATM transactions as its main reason for doing so.

"As part of our ongoing responsibility to manage our banking operations ... we have made a business decision to close our Atlanta airport branch and remove our ATMs," a Wells Fargo spokeswoman said Wednesday.

SunTrust has been working — and spending money — to raise its profile. The company holds the naming rights to the stadium for the Atlanta Braves that opened last year. That 25-year deal has been reported to be worth more than $10 million per year.

SunTrust's advertising and marketing costs were $38.7 million in the first quarter, down 1.2% from a year earlier, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

SunTrust did not provide details as to how much it was paying to be the airport’s official bank, but the airport’s contract with Wells reportedly required at least $1.7 million in annual rent. Wells generated about $850,000 annually in ATM fees and was required to pay 70% rent on those revenues, according a report in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

The airport’s advertising contractor, Clear Channel, initially wanted to take over the airport ATMs. Clear Channel said that it had negotiated a five-year sponsorship deal with JPMorgan Chase that would have included free ATMs, the AJC also reported.

The city’s law department, however, concluded that the airport needed to put the contract out for a competitive bid. SunTrust was the only company to bid for the airport contract.

SunTrust’s full-service branch will be located in the airport’s main domestic terminal, while its ATMs will be scattered throughout the domestic and international concourses. They are expected to open in the first quarter of 2019.

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