Sterling Bank Plc says it will increase its Automated Teller Machines from 585 to 700 by year end and begin the 2015 financial year with 5,000 Point of Sales terminals. In a statement on Sunday, the bank this will improve its financial services in the coming year and also cushion the effects of the introduction of N65 service charge by the Central Bank of Nigeria on remote-on-us ATM transactions. To achieve this, Sterling Bank said additional ATM galleries would be installed in strategic locations across the country, apart from a robust infrastructure to support the expansion it is embarking on. The statement quoted the bank’s Group Head, Strategy & Communications, Shina Atilola, saying, “We have almost doubled our ATM count between December last year and September 2014. We started the year with 300 ATMs but aim to close the year with about 700. This would involve additional deployments at existing locations, partner locations and ATM galleries.” Other ancillary services covered under the ATM expansion drive include customers being able to confirm their account balances, do transfers (inter and intra bank), pay bills such as electricity and DSTV and buy airtime at the bank’s ATMs. The bank said it “will continue to maintain high quality ATM services by supporting the inter-operability of the payment system in the country. We will continue to deploy more ATMs to promote the cashless policy of the CBN and ensure that our customers are provided with enough platforms to transact their financial transactions”. The bank’s profit before tax rose by 24 per cent to stand at N9.3bn in 2014, while gross earnings grew to N91.6bn, representing a 33 per cent growth increase compared to 2012 figure of N68.8bn. Its profit after tax grew by nine per cent, from N6.9bn recorded in the corresponding year of 2012 to N8.2bn in 2013. Sterling Bank’s operating income climbed by 63 per cent from N39.2bn in the comparable period of 2012 to N57.4bn in 2014.