OKLAHOMA CITY – The 10 Oklahoma credit unions that are the founding members of the ATM Zone say they are not setting up an ATM Network, but they acknowledge that some of the large ATM networks began in a similar manner. "I know everything big started small once," said Brent Taylor, Executive Vice President of the $333 million WEOKIE Credit Union, based in Oklahoma City. "But we're happy to just have gotten a good start." The 10 members of the ATM Zone agree not to surcharge each other's card users and to pool their resources to place ATMs. The Zone members have collectively placed three new machines since late summer of 2002. "I don't call what we're doing a `network' because we are not about switches or bundling transactions to get the best rates from service providers," said Taylor. WEOKIE is one of the founding credit unions in the ATM Zone. Taylor described the ATM Zone as more of a cooperative than a network and said that the members had intentionally not gone with CO-OP Network, Credit Union 24 or one of the larger surcharge free ATM options. "We talked about that, but everyone had a slightly different contract with their service providers which expired at different times and had different terms which were working for them," Taylor said. "The one thing we knew we wanted to do was to provide our members surcharge-free ATM access at some ATMs and maybe place a few machines as well," he said. The effort got underway three or four years ago, Taylor explained, when five credit unions, primarily in the Oklahoma City area, decided to stop surcharging each other's ATM cardholders. From there the five decided to open up membership to the ATM Zone more broadly. Ten of the roughly 100 credit unions in Oklahoma responded to the group's invitation, he said, and the arrangement was finalized in August or September of 2002. Taylor estimated that 250,000 ATM cardholders have surcharge-free ATM access through the ATM Zone. The Zone lists 69 available ATMs in the Oklahoma City area.

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