The installed base of ATMs in 18 Western European countries grew in 2009 despite deployment declines in the United Kingdom and Spain, Europe’s two largest ATM markets, Retail Banking Research, a London-based strategic-marketing firm, reported April 23.

Banks and independent ATM companies as of the end of December deployed 378,747 ATMs throughout the region, 2.3% more than the 370,288 machines they deployed a year earlier, according to Retail Banking Research’s report “ATM and Cash Dispensers–Western Europe 2010.”

Although total ATMs deployed grew last year, the growth rate is slowing, Andrei Charniauski, a Retail Banking Research associate, tells PaymentsSource. In 2007, the number of ATMs deployed (358,563) grew by 5% from the previous year, and in 2008 the growth rate was 3.3%, he says.

“The rate of the speed of growth is falling,” Charniauski says. “And in a few years, and if it continues in this direction, the growth rate will be flat.”

The total number of ATMs deployed in the UK and Spain fell by a combined 1,252 machines, but the reasons behind the declines differed.

In the UK, independent deployers pulled the plug on ATMs placed in unprofitable locations. Hanco ATM Systems Ltd., for example, removed 1,500 of its 45,000 ATMs, though banks and other independent operators deployed more ATMs to offset Hanco’s actions.

As of Dec. 31, banks and independent ATM operators deployed 63,882 ATMs in the UK, down 1.4% compared with 64,794 machines a year earlier, Retail Banking Research reports. 

Spanish banks closed branches, leading to a reduction in ATMs, Charniauski says. As of the end of 2009, banks and independent ATM operators in Spain deployed 61,374 ATMs, down 0.6% compared with 61,714 machines a year earlier.

Increased ATM deployments in Italy, Germany and France offset the drops in the UK and Spain. In 2009, Italian banks and independent ATM operators installed 48,135 ATMs, up 7% from 45,000 the previous year. Germany’s banks and independent ATM operators had an installed base of 58,282 ATMs combined, up 3.6% from 56,247. And in France, banks and independent ATM operators at the end of last year had an installed base of 53,939 machines combined, up 3.6% from 52,046. 

Germany, France and Italy round out Western Europe’s five-largest ATM markets. 

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