The National ATM Council's 6th Annual Conference Celebrates Legislative Progress

Posted On: 10/23/2018

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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 event was the largest in its history.

This year's conference was held at Bally's Hotel here from Oct. 16 through 18, and two association accomplishments were in the spotlight.

As a result of industry educational efforts to halt government initiatives designed to discourage banks from handling cash transactions, two prominent Members of Congress have 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. 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's anti-money laundering provisions] 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."

The NAC2018 conference also was the occasion chosen by Visa to announce an expansion of its Visa/Plus ATM Network Services. The ongoing expansion is designed to help position the ATM as a self-service banking channel. One corollary to this is the company's favorable response to the ATM Council's petition for the extension of dynamic currency conversion for international transactions.

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 but converting the transaction amount in the cardholder's home currency.

ATMs on which this service is enabled 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 the cardholder with a detailed receipt.

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