ATM Fee Placard Bill Unanimously Approved by House Committee, Headed for Vote

Legislation that would do away with the physical fee notice currently required on ATMs was unanimously approved by the House Financial Services Committee by voice vote Wednesday morning.  Having now been sent to the House of Representatives, H.R. 4367 is expected to receive a floor vote in July.

Under the new bill, which would eliminate the requirements within Regulation E mandating a physical display on each individual ATM, usually in the form of a sticker or placard, notifying users that a fee will be charged, credit unions and other financial institutions would only need to display the disclosures on the screen and give users the opportunity to opt out.

The legislation was introduced in response to the growing number of frivolous lawsuits being filed against financial institutions around the country, such as the one that hit North Coast Credit Union in April. So-called “ATM vigilantes” are scouring the country for non-compliant ATMs, and are, in some instances, going as far as intentionally removing the fee postings in an effort to create noncompliance. Suits are then filed in pursuit of cash settlements.

“This is a simple fix that makes sense for everybody,” said Jennifer Wagner, vice president of legislative advocacy for the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA). “That has been the key to having the bill move so quickly, and we are pleased with how responsive our legislators have been.”

H.R. 4367 was introduced by Reps. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.) and David Scott (D-Ga.), and four legislators from the Northwest are among its 127 cosponsors. Reps. Rick Larsen (D-Wash.) and Doc Hastings (R-Wash.) each signed on in support of the bill, with Larsen’s sponsorship coming as a result of a request made by North Coast President and CEO Terry Belcoe and the NWCUA.

Reps. Kurt Schrader (D-Ore.) and Greg Walden (R-Ore.) are also co-sponsors of the House bill. A companion Senate measure, S. 3204, has 17 co-sponsors, including Sens. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) and Ron Wyden (D-Ore.).

“I give our ‘Hike the Hill’ team credit for earning such quick support from Walden, Wyden and Merkley,” Wagner said. “They had heard about the issue before we met with them, but having our credit union members tell the story and explain the common-sense need for updating this very out-of-date regulation made their decision to support the bill an easy one.”

The bill is expected to receive a floor vote in the House in July as part of the suspension calendar, which is the home for bills that are considered non-controversial—bills that are not expected to require amendments or debate. According to Wagner, the legislation will be likely approved by a recorded vote and is expected to see no significant opposition.

“The Senate will presumably move fairly quickly as well in the same format,” Wagner said.

Questions? Contact a member of the Association’s Legislative Affairs team:

Jennifer Wagner, Vice President of Legislative Advocacy
Mark Minickiello, Vice President of Legislative Affairs
Stacy Augustine, Senior Vice President & General Counsel

Posted in CUNA.