NAFCU has written a letter to U.S. Senators about one of the amendments to the Restoring American Financial Stability Act of 2010 that has drawn little attention, a measure that would cap ATM fees at fifty cents per transaction.
ATM deployers, including credit unions and other financial institutions, began charging fees to ATM users who do not have accounts with the deploying institutions in the late 1980s and the industry has faced attempts to cap or limit them, on and off, ever since.
The industry has generally successfully countered these attempts by arguing the fees help them recover the costs of deploying ATMs. The ATM Industry Association has argued that ATM fees have been responsible for widespread ATM deployment as well, by increasing ATM profitability.
NAFCU touched on some of these themes in its May 5 letter to all U.S. Senators.
"While a fee this low might cover the cost of processing an ATM transaction, it does not reflect the additional costs associated with maintaining an ATM and protecting one's own customers or members and the money they hold in a particular institution," NAFCU wrote. "Such an arbitrary cap on ATM charges could ultimately force many financial institutions, including credit unions, to close their automated machines, to the detriment of their customers and members. While some institutions have charged exorbitantly high fees for transactions processed at their ATMs, we do not believe that this amendment takes the right approach in tackling this problem. NAFCU therefore asks that you oppose SA 3812 in its current form."