National ATM Council's 2018 Meeting Celebrates Industry Accomplishments

Posted On: 11/14/2018

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LAS VEGAS — The National ATM Council Inc. reported breakthroughs in government relations and industry cooperation at its NAC2018 conference here. The association represents the interests of independent automated teller machine service organizations, distributors and operators, and this year's conference and trade show was the largest in its history. It attracted more than 600 participants and some 60 exhibitors occupying more than 80 booths.

During three days of education and networking, the confab covered topics ranging from cryptocurrency through revenue-enhancing ideas to security precautions, physical and electronic, for cash machines.  

The program included a special presentation by Visa, which announced a global policy change in line with the association's petition requesting authorization of dynamic currency conversion for foreign travelers using ATMs in the United States.

Another major announcement was action by the U.S. Congress to end federal banking rules that have been interpreted as pressuring  banks to discontinue offering services to ATM companies and other legitimate small businesses, like amusement operations, that deal largely in cash.

"Even though we were successful in having [the Department of Justice] declare and end to Operation Choke Point, as we are all painfully aware, the bank account closures have not let up," said association board chairman George Sarantopoulos, Access One Solutions (Brooklyn, NY). He emphasized that the group is remaining vigilant to counter adverse state and local legislation or regulations that target ATM operations.

Banking Regulations

In response to the industry's expressed concerns, two prominent Members of Congress sent a letter to the Comptroller of the Currency, the head of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and the Vice-Chairman for Supervision of the Federal Reserve System's Board of Governors to request corrective action.

Reps. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R.-MO), Chairman of the Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit for the House Financial Services Committee and Carolyn B. Maloney (D.-NY), Ranking Member of the Subcommittee on Capital Markets Securities and Investment authored the letter, which is dated Oct. 17. It states:

"As you know, over half the ATMs in the United States are owned and/or operated by independent nonbank companies or individuals. In the past several years, we have seen an alarming trend in the discontinuation of banking services extended to independent ATM providers. In response to inquiries regarding these actions, a number of those institutions have asserted that their regulators are pressing for closure of these accounts.

"Given the importance to consumers and to small businesses of reliable and convenient access to cash, the prospect of losing more than half of the ATMs in the United States is deeply troubling," Reps. Luetkemeyer and Maloney warn the regulators. "Without continuous access to banking services, independent owners/operators of ATMs will not be able to keep their businesses open."

The letter requests that the regulators "inform us of the steps that your agencies can and will take to make it clear to the banking industry that the FFIEC Manual   [published by the Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council to acquaint banks with their responsibilities under the Bank Secrecy Act] does not mandate the closing of accounts of independent, nonbank ATM owners/operators, where there is no evidence of indication of any improper or unlawful conduct being undertaken in or through those accounts, or by any holder of such an account."

Reps. Luetkemeyer and Maloney ask the regulators to tell them whether amendments are required to the Manual in order to correct these abuses and, if so, what they would be and how long it would take to make them. "Given the time sensitivity of this matter, we would ask that you respond to us by Oct. 30, 2018."
Visa took advantage of NAC2018 to announce an expansion of its Visa/Plus ATM Network Services. The ongoing expansion is designed to help strengthen the role of ATMs as a self-service banking channel. One corollary to this is Visa's favorable response to the ATM Council's petition for the extension of dynamic currency conversion for international transactions.

Visa Rules

As a result, Visa announced that it will modify its Visa Rules to allow ATM acquirers and operators to offer dynamic currency conversion on international ATM transactions. The new rules will be published in April 2019, and Visa is establishing a compliance program to support the rollout. DCC is a service that allows cardholders traveling in other countries to choose to pay for cash withdrawals in their home currency. If the cardholder elects to do so, the acquirer/operator may assess an exchange-rate markup for dispensing local currency while converting the transaction amount in the cardholder's home currency. The ATM must display, among other important consumer notifications, the amount of the transaction, in the currency dispensed by the ATM; the exchange rate used to determine the DCC transaction amount, any additional exchange markup over the wholesale rate and the total transaction amount in DCC transaction currency. In completing the transaction, the ATM must provide a detailed receipt.

NAC2018 also offered a diverse, well-attended tradeshow and a variety of networking opportunities. Next year's event is scheduled for Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas from Oct. 15 through 17.

Discussing Triton’s U.S.-made automated teller machines in the Triton booth are (from left) James Phillips, Triton; Dan Lieberman, Lieberman Investments (Bloomington MN); and Marial Miller and Daryl Cornell, Triton.
 
Gabrielle Widenor and CJ Murphy, Cash Connect, welcome NAC2018 showgoers to the Cash Connect booth. Firm offers cash logistics services for ATM operations, from vault cash to armored carrier management.
 
Nate McQuillen (left), Smart Software, discusses the ATM Smart program with Jim Shoop, ATM Mega Store (Los Angeles, CA). ATM Smart streamlines management of ATM routes, from bank to terminal back to bank.
 
Rafael DiCarlo, Worldpay, describes the company’s FastAccess Funding service with John Newberry, Venco Business Solutions (Bland, VA,) at NAC2018, the largest show to date for the National ATM Council.
 
Frank Minnella (left), LAI Group, welcomes National ATM Council chairman George Sarantopoulos, Access One Solutions  (Brooklyn, NY,) to the Lock America booth at NAC2018 trade show.
 
Discussing new ATM services in the GivePay Commerce booth are (from left) Roger Myers, GivePay; Alicia Lavay, Vending Times; Nathan Dalton and Jerry Jackson, GivePay; and Pedro Figueroa, Puerto Rico.
 
Gathering in the OptConnect booth are (from left) Maximus Carter, Andrew de Lathar and Fodi Cheikha, US Alliance Group; Cooper Frandsen, Grant Victor; Matt Warner, OptConnect; Rhet Needham, ATMequipment; and Chris Yo, USAG. Grant Victor is the parent company of ATMequipment.com and OptConnect. USAG is a family of payment processing companies: Electronic Cash Systems, Alternative Payments International and Precision Payments International.
 
 
National ATM Council chairman George Sarantopoulos (right), Access One Solutions (Brooklyn, NY,) reviews progress of the fast-growing independent ATM industry with his father Nicholas, AOS Wireless, in the booth they shared at NAC2018, the association’s 6th annual conference and trade show.