First American Banks yesterday opened a major $1 million promotional campaign designed to promote the banking system's unique automatic teller system which permits consumers to withdraw money at any of the holding company's machines in the metropolitan area.

The First American program is the only interstate banking system of its kind east of the Mississippi River, said J. William Middendorf, president of Financial General Bankshares Inc. Financial General is the holding company that operates the 77 First American branch banks across the region.

The subsidiaries of Financial General with facilities in the District, Maryland and Virginia, offer the only such service in each of the area's jurisdictions.

The computerized system, which has cost First American Bank more than $1.7 million to install, is available at 59 branches of the bank, including 33 in the District, 16 in Virginia and 10 in Maryland. First American is calling the system "Money Exchange."

Each of the machines costs from $30,000 to $35,000 to purchase and install, Middendorf said. More of the machines will be available at other First American branches next month, Middendorf said.

Although customers at any one of the First American offices will be able to withdraw funds from banks in any of the jurisdictions, Virginia customers cannot make deposits across state lines. The Virginia restriction stems from a state regulatory decision.

The advertising campaign will kick off on Monday on area broadcast outlets and in local newspapers and will emphasize the theme "Money Exchange Territory."