A new association of smaller, independent ATM deployers may provide credit unions with an additional ally on certain ATM regulatory fights, according to an executive with the new trade group.
The National ATM Council is a cooperative effort of the National Association of ATM ISOs and the Alliance of Specialized Communications Providers. Its members hope organizations which members hope to use it to highlight issues that they felt have not gotten sufficient attention, according to the group's new Executive Director Bruce Renard.
The new association claims that it will represent the majority of independent (nonfinancial institution) ATM deployers in the U.S and that they deploy roughly half the nation's ATMs.
“Formation of NAC is a significant event in the history and evolution of the dynamic ATM industry,” said Curt Selman of Selman Telecommunications Investment Group LLC, the group's first chairman. “As small businesses, independent owners of ATMs in the United States face challenging times. Our industry requires an organization focused on promoting the interests of the nation’s independent ATM owners and ensuring the continued widespread availability of independent ATM locations for the convenience of the American consumer. The unification of NAAIO and ASCP to form NAC is a significant step in achieving this focus. With the combined resources and leadership of ASCP and NAAIO, and the support of our member companies and constituents, I am confident that NAC and each of its business councils will make a positive impact for all our member companies, suppliers and the public we serve.”
The group is also notable for the organization that is not in its leadership. Cardtronics, the nation's largest independent ATM deployer and owner of the Allpoint Network, is not among the organizations represented on the group's first board of directors, according to the association.
“NAC represents the realization of a long-term goal to create a strong and broad-based trade organization devoted to furthering the interests of independent ATM businesses throughout the nation–while also promoting the important benefits that our sector’s more than 200,000 ATMs provide to the American public,” said Jim Cabe of Cabe & Cato, the NAC's vice chairman.
“NAC will work to improve our members’ services by pursuing the most advanced and efficient technologies, fostering awareness of and compliance with applicable regulations and promoting industry best practices. The NAC will provide a strong industry voice and will have the critical mass needed to assure the industry’s views and positions are known by the nation’s policymakers,” he added.
Renard maintained that Cardtronics was not on the board because it had not been on the board of the either of the two original organizations, and he denied knowing if the ATM giant is even a member, though he acknowledged that the organization's dues were based in part on the member's size so that presumably a much larger organization might have a much larger impact on the organization's income and budget.
He also denied that Cardtronic's absence from the NAC leadership meant that the organization necessarily had a bias against Cardtronics or other large independent ATM deployers. He maintained that the member firms wanted an organization that would give them a more focused voice in addressing issues that were more important to them.
Cardtronics did not return a phone call for a comment as of press time.
Chief among the issues that Renard said that have been vexing independent ATM deployers is the Americans with Disabilities Act as it applies to ATMs.
Credit unions, like ISOs, must make sure that ATMs meet height requirements to enable people in wheelchairs to access them as well as carry technology and notices that will enable easier use by visually impaired people.
But unlike credit unions, a significant percentage of ISOs have not yet made many of the changes that they need to make. Further, as the regulations are complicated and open to different interpretation, Renard expected that NAC member firms and credit unions may share similar concerns about being vulnerable to litigation arising from the act.
The ADA has a two pronged approach to enforcement, empowering the U.S. Justice Department to take complaints and bring compliance cases as well as empowering individuals to sue under the act. It is the individuals suits that ISOs fear, Renard said, as both ISOs and credit unions have been the subjects of opportunistic litigation from law firms seeking to make some easier money with litigation over alleged ATM compliance violations.“We are definitely open to reaching out on areas where we see possible cooperation,” Renard said, noting that most CUs are small ATM deployers as well.