WASHINGTON (9/14/12)--The U.S. House unanimously passed a bill that could "stem the tide of baseless, nuisance lawsuits that threaten consumers' access to automated teller machines (ATMs)" in July and now it is time for the Senate to approve the legislation, according to House Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.).
In a Sept. 12 letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Bachus wrote, "By taking up and passing H.R. 4367, the Senate would help eliminate the requirement that ATM operators affix unnecessary and outmoded fee notices to their machines."
H.R. 4367 would eliminate portions of Regulation E that require credit unions and other financial institutions that provide ATM services to display a physical notice on the ATM that a fee will be charged. Under the legislation, ATMs would only be required to display the ATM disclosures on a screen.
The current, duplicative ATM disclosure requirements are creating issues for credit unions and other financial institutions. In some cases, the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) has noted, outside notices on ATMs are being intentionally removed or destroyed, without the financial institution's knowledge, and then pictures are taken of the ATM to show noncompliance with disclosure rules.
Some ATM users have filed lawsuits using such photos as evidence of apparent noncompliance. CUNA has said the number of these lawsuits could be in the hundreds and many credit unions are settling the suits to avoid the cost of litigation.
In urging his colleagues in the Senate to approve the bill, Bachus noted that interests as diverse as convenience stores, community banks, credit unions, casinos and gas stations support the bill's passage.
"In fact, there is no meaningful opposition to the bill," the House chairman concluded.
CUNA has also urged the Senate to approve the ATM bill soon.