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Trade-It-Yourself Bank Machines Make a Debut : Securities: Citibank is first to offer full-scale brokerage services at ATM machines. Option comes to California next month.

October 06, 1994|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Now there's another reason to stand in line at the automated teller machine: to buy and sell stocks without getting a broker's pitch.

Marking a new level of competition in the securities industry, Citibank said Wednesday that its brokerage customers in New York, Chicago and Miami can now use its automated teller machines to buy and sell stocks, get market values for securities and trade shares of the bank's Landmark money market funds. California customers will be linked to the brokerage option by the end of the month.

Customers will pay the same fees they do when buying stocks other ways.

Citibank, a unit of the nation's largest banking company, Citicorp, said it is the first bank to offer full-scale brokerage services on automatic bank machines, although both Citicorp and San Francisco-based Wells Fargo have allowed customers to use ATMs to buy and sell proprietary mutual funds. Other banks have allowed customers to check balances in brokerage accounts.

The Wells Fargo service isn't getting much use, according to Dudley Nigg, an executive vice president who oversees Wells Fargo's ATM system. Wells chose not to provide stock quotes and other trading options on the machines because the bank was concerned that ATM lines would be clogged with customers checking stock prices--a concern parroted by some analysts.

"I wouldn't want to get in a line behind someone with a large portfolio," Dean Witter Reynolds analyst Paul Mackey joked.

But Citibank is not concerned. Such problems did not materialize during the company's summer pilot program, says Citicorp spokeswoman Maria Rullo. And the bank limits customers to 10 stock quotes per day, she adds.

The Citibank system pivots on specially designed automated teller machines that have separate "menus" for banking and brokerage services. Customers who want to access their stock account will select a button that says "brokerage services: Not FDIC insured."

The screen offers a choice between information or trading. If you choose to trade, the next screen is a full-page of disclosure about stock market risks.

Those who just want to check stock prices will pull up a picture of a typewriter keyboard. By touching the screen, they can type in the name of the company or its ticker symbol and get a real-time stock quote or the previous day's mutual fund closing price. There is no charge for getting quotes. However, customers who choose to trade through the system will pay the same brokerage fees that they'd pay if they were doing a transaction in person or over the phone.

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