A Senate version of the bill, S. 3204, awaits action in that chamber.
A regulation issued under current law requires a placard that discloses transaction fees to members, in addition to a separate electronic disclosure.
This redundant regulatory requirement has spawned lawsuits by unscrupulous plaintiffs and vandals who remove the sign so they can then sue the ATM operator for being in violation of the law, the bill’s backers said.
“As the number and the costs of these nuisance lawsuits rise, so does the likelihood that ATM operators will have to raise fees or reduce the number of ATMs in places where this vandalism has occurred,” said Financial Services Committee Chairman Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.). “Failing to stem the tide of these lawsuits threatens consumers’ convenient access to their money.”
The bill, which passed with a vote of 371-0, was introduced by Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.) and co-sponsored by Rep. David Scott (D-Ga.), both of whom serve on the Financial Services Committee. It picked up more than 100 other Republican and Democratic co-sponsors before its approval by the House on Monday night.
The legislation would still require ATMs to maintain the on-screen notice about fees and provide consumers with the ability to decline those fees and terminate the transaction.
NAFCU praised the House passage the bill.
“NAFCU has been working diligently to advocate passage of this common-sense measure that eliminates the incentive for frivolous lawsuits while preserving a disclosure mechanism to ensure consumers’ interests,” said NAFCU President/CEO Fred Becker. “We thank the House for passage and urge the Senate to quickly act to pass this legislation.”
CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney said the bill eliminates a frustrating regulatory burden for credit unions, and consumers won’t be adversely affected by the elimination of this redundant sign because H.R. 4367 maintains the obligation that consumers opt-in to any ATM fees before a transaction is processed.
“House passage of this legislation is an important milestone, but the work is not done. We urge the Senate to take up this measure as soon as possible and provide credit unions with much needed regulatory relief,” Cheney said.