WASHINGTON - Allpoint ATM Network, the nationwide ATM networkwhose pricing vehicle has proven popular with some credit unions,has taken steps to sign more community banks on as clients.Headquartered in Bethesda, Maryland, the Allpoint Network serves asa mediator between ATM deployers and financial institutions thatwish to offer their customers or members fee-free ATM access. AnAllpoint client institution pays a fee to the network based on itson ATM client base and, in exchange, its customers or members getfee-free access to the Network's 30,0000 ATMs nationwide. Whilecredit unions are, numerically, the majority of Allpoint's clientfinancial institutions, the network has long sought to establishrelationships with community banks which often have ATM needssimilar to those of credit unions. Now, almost 1,100 of thenation's community banks will have the opportunity to sign up at apreferential rate thanks to an agreement between Allpoint andAmerica's Community Bankers, a trade association representingalmost 1,100 community banks. The deal with ACB representssomething of a landmark for Allpoint. "Getting the endorsement of amajor banking trade association is huge for us," said Ben Psillas,president of the Network, pointing out that it will help Allpointfurther make the case that it is more than an up and coming ATMoption. Previously, Psillas has noted that banks and credit unionshave reacted differently to Allpoint's marketing efforts, withcredit unions more willing to tell other credit unions aboutAllpoint and bankers being more reserved. But Psillas said the ACBdeal had taken place because the association had sought out thenetwork and inquired about a possible relationship. RobertSchmermund, ACB spokesman, said the ACB went to Allpoint inresponse to a survey of its membership in which, he said, more than70% of the members had listed ATM access as one of the leadingcustomer service issues. The Network also announced a deployeralliance with NetBank Payment Systems last week that hiked itstotal ATMs nationwide to more than 30,000. Netbank Payment Systemsis a subsidiary of NetBank Inc. "NetBank Payment Systems' portfolioof ATMs is a great complement strategically and geographically toour existing 25,000 surcharge-free ATMs," said Psillas. "All 6,000NetBank Payment System ATMs are located in retail locations, andthe additional ATMs provide a significant boost in the number ofsurcharge-free ATMs in many key markets, including California,Illinois, Virginia and the entire Midwest and Southeast," he added.-

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