The National ATM Council (NAC) and the ATM Industry Association (ATMIA) have signed a ground breaking Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to pursue a new joint campaign aimed at ending the ongoing damaging impacts of bank account closures and new account denials in the US Independent ATM market, in the aftermath of the Government's now defunct Operation Choke Point program.
The MOU paves the way for the two organizations to share resources, ideas, information and plans to combat this issue in a segment of the domestic US market which accounts for well over half the ATMs currently deployed throughout the nation.
America has the highest per capita ATM deployment of any country in the world, providing the widespread and convenient access to cash that complements the free world's leading market economy.
"NAC is excited to be working with ATMIA in our fight to restore reasonable access to the US banking system for America's Independent ATM providers," said NAC Executive Director, Bruce Wayne Renard. "Working together I am hopeful we can reverse the current misperceptions that ATM companies are 'high risk' accounts, and instead restore an understanding that ATM providers are in fact bank-sponsored and heavily vetted businesses, whose vault cash is inherently trackable as part of the simple, cyclical, closed-loop, and highly transparent 'financial settlements' process to which it is subject."
"The ATM Industry Association strongly opposes any arbitrary bank account closures in the vital independent retail ATM market, as this sector is crucial to the circulation of cash throughout the US economy and to the daily operation of thousands of businesses," explained Mike Lee, CEO of ATMIA, who penned the
agreement with Renard. "I'm delighted and honoured to partner with NAC to eradicate all the lingering impacts of Choke Point. This is our top US industry issue today."
In terms of implementing the MOU, both associations are in the process of formulating a joint action plan and exchanging essential resources, to redouble their respective advocacy efforts and promptly end the disturbing and needless bank account closures and new account denials being experienced in the US ATM market. As another initial step in this initiative, ATMIA and NAC are also coordinating parallel ATM industry surveys to gather the most current and comprehensive data available on the full scope and nature of the problem.
"There is a significant lack of understanding about how the independent ATM cash cycle works," said David Tente, executive director for ATMIA USA & Americas. "That is not unexpected amongst the general public or even other businesses in the financial services industry. But we find it to be true on the part of financial institutions as well - which often results in independent operators being misclassified as Money Services Businesses (MSB). We hope that through a united front, ATMIA and NAC can affect real change in how banks engage with our members."
"NAC remains committed to ending the ongoing unjustified and un-American bank account closures and denials being endured by America's Independent ATM industry," said Mike Powell, Chair of NAC's Governmental Affairs Committee and CEO of First Regents Bancservices, a leading ATM provider based in Nashville, Tennessee. "Working together with ATMIA, I am hopeful we can finally rectify this untenable situation. Independent ATMs provide services to many areas of the US that would otherwise be "cash deserts", acting as a gateway to financial services for tens of millions of Americans each day. These ATM companies require vault cash accounts and a stable banking environment in which to operate. Solving this problem is truly a matter of national concern. Hopefully this new joint initiative, with NAC and ATMIA joining forces, will yield the positive outcome we both desire".