Alfa-Bank and Rosbank earlier this month merged their ATM networks as the Russian financial institutions looked to compete with Sberbank, the country's largest bank.

The merged network has more than 5,500 ATMs in 539 cities and towns.

Customers of the two banks now may use either bank’s ATMs without paying a surcharge fee and without limits on cash withdrawals, Rosbank spokesperson Timofey Sobolevskiy tells PaymentsSource.

Alfa-Bank particularly benefits in the Far East, where Rosbank has a strong ATM penetration in Krasnoyarsk, Buryatia, Astrakhan and Tomsk, the bank said in its announcement.

Both banks said they also have ATM surcharge-free sharing agreements with other institutions, too.

"The launch of the project with Rosbank brings the total number of our ATM network bank partners to five," Alexey Korovin, Alfa-Bank's head of the retail business, said in a statement. "We plan to continually increase the number of ATMs in this network and to increase the number of such alliances."

Through its partnerships, Alfa-Bank customers may use 10,300 ATMs without paying surcharge fees. Similarly, Rosbank customers may access 16,000 ATMs for free, says Rosbank's Sobolevskiy.

In April, two other large Russian banks, Russian Standard and VTB 24, combined their ATM networks. Their customers now may use more than 14,000 machines surcharge free.

State-owned Sberbank, Russia's largest bank, operates a network of more than 37,000 ATMs.

Alfa-Bank is the largest privately held bank in Russia by assets. Rosbank is a privately held Russian bank affiliated with Societe Generale Group and one of Russia's top 10 banks. The bank’s regional network numbers about 700 outlets, 1,200 points of sales and 3,000 ATMs in 340 cities and towns across the country.

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