Mizuho Bank said Thursday it will start extending the operating hours of about 500 automated teller machines to 9 p.m. from 7 p.m. on Sept. 16, with around 100 more to follow by the end of March.

Mizuho said it hopes that making its ATMs more convenient to use will lift its profitability. Mizuho has branches in all 47 prefectures.

Of its roughly 1,700 ATMs nationwide, only about 50 are open 24 hours, all of which are located in the Tokyo metropolitan area. Another 60 ATMs in the Tokyo and Osaka areas can be accessed between 8 a.m. and 11 p.m. Around 1,000 ATMs are currently open until 9 p.m.

Extending the operating hours of ATMs will increase costs, such as those for system maintenance, a Mizuho official said. But “we’ll be able to absorb (these costs) through the increased revenues from fees that we can charge the larger number of (ATM) users,” he said.

UFJ Bank will meanwhile begin operating about 2,000 ATMs in Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka on a 24-hour basis beginning in late September.

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