ATM deployers received some good news from Capitol Hill late Tuesday when the Senate passed H.R. 4367, a bill amending the Electronic Funds Transfer Act and revoking the placard fee disclosure requirement that has spurred frivolous lawsuits against U.S. independent ATM deployers (IADs) and financial institutions across the nation.
The Senate adopted the House version of the legislation passed in July, which now moves to President Obama's desk for his signature.
Once signed or allowed to go into effect unsigned by the President, this revision to federal law clears the way for elimination of duplicate physical fee disclosures at ATMs.
Since 2005, ATMs in the United States have been required to disclose on the ATM's video screen any ATM-based fees that are charged for use of the machine. This electronic notice shows consumers the exact amount of fees charged at the ATM for each transaction, and allows the user to opt-out and cancel the transaction following the disclosure.
NAC Urges President Obama to Sign Bill
The National ATM Council, Inc. (NAC), the nation's leading trade association representing U.S. independent ATM providers, urges President Obama to sign this bill into law.
"The legislation represents a substantial measure of regulatory relief for ATM owners in the United States, while having zero adverse effect on consumers," says NAC Executive Director Bruce Renard.
"This change in the law is an example of what Congress can accomplish on a bipartisan basis, even in these challenging and divisive political times," continues Renard. "Elimination of the external ATM fee sticker law was the right move given the outmoded and duplicative nature of the requirement, and the abuse of the system being undertaken by persons' tampering with the fee stickers/plaquards and then filing cookie-cutter class action litigations of dubious validity. Congress recognized and corrected what was a legitimate problem area under the current law. The external fee sticker was no longer serving a valid consumer purpose and instead had become the basis for a cottage industry of litigation."
NAC's Role in Passing the Bill
NAC has remained active in lobbying efforts during 2012 to support the introduction and passage of this legglegislation. In one of a number of Capitol Hill visits this year, a delegation of IADs and suppliers visited Washington, DC in July as part of the Association's ATMs Go to Washington Initiative. During these member-driven visits to Senate and House Banking Committee members, NAC highlighted the ATM fee sticker issue among others facing the ATM industry.
"The NAC Political Committee, Chaired by NAC Chairman Curt Selman, along with the entire NAC Board of Directors have led the charge all the way on this issue, and are to be thanked greatly for their exceptional efforts," says Renard.
Selman stated: "Key involvement from NAC Vice Chairman, Jim Cabe (Turn-Key ATM Solutions), NAC Treasurer and Finance Committee Chairman Jerri Cerniglia (Edge One, Inc.) and NAC Board Members Bryan Bauer (Kahuna ATM Solutions) and Mike Powell (First Regents Banc Services and Equipment) played an especially vital role in this initiative and these professionals deserve our special thanks. Alicia Blanda of Blanda Marketing & Public Relations played an important role on NAC's team of volunteers and professionals that helped make this revision to federal law a reality and also merits our special recognition and thanks".
"Sincere thanks as well to those many other NAC members and industry participants involved in this initiative, whose efforts are greatly appreciated for all their excellent contributions," Selman continued.
"NAC would like to specially thank the Senate Banking Committee Leadership: Committee Chairman Tim Johnson, Ranking Minority Member Richard Shelby and key committee member and co-sponsor Senator Bob Corker, along with their exceptional majority and minority committee staff members," added Cabe, NAC Vice-Chairman. "On the House side, we'd like to thank primary sponsor Representative Blaine Luetkemeyer, House Finance Committee Chair Spencer Bachus and Ranking Minority Member Barney Frank for forging a bipartisan consensus leading to the right legislative response, and a win for the nation's ATM consumers and providers alike."
Impact on Pending Lawsuits
In terms of the impact of this change in the law will have on pending law suits, Renard predicts "this should now sort itself out on a case by case basis."
"The question of retroactivity of the new law is one for the courts to decide. There are sound policy and equity bases to apply the new law in a way that eradicates the pending law suits," he continues. "These cases are a waste of both judicial and litigant resources. Passage of the new law eliminating the external ATM fee sticker requirement can only help reinforce the fact that the pending lawsuits are meritless, on a variety of legal and factual bases, including what will soon be the absence of any currently valid statutory bases under which to proceed ."