<p>SALT LAKE CITY – The three-year-old credit union campaign to win ATM concessions and build transaction volume at the nation’s airports while also raising the industry’s public profile seemed to bear fruit during the winter Olympics. Experiencing consistently “good increases in transactions” in recent months, Mountain America Credit Union of Salt Lake City said February volumes at the 10 ATM facilities at the Salt Lake City International Airport were 22% higher than a year ago. The increase came despite the fact that travel volume was down 2% “even before Sept. 11,” said Mountain America, which has been one of the lead players in the CU-coalition that in June 2000 replaced local banks in holding the ATM franchise at the airport. Joining Mountain America in the airport venture are American Airlines Employees Federal Credit Union of Dallas; Delta Employees Credit Union, Atlanta; Western Federal Credit Union, Los Angeles, and CO-OP Network of Ontario, Calif. “We are very pleased with the overall ATM project,” declared John Tippets, president/CEO of American Airlines CU in Dallas. “The ATMs are almost like remote branches.” American Airlines employees, he said, are frequent users of the machines “and they tell flight crews who then use them, too.” The Salt Lake City ATMs, like similar CU-run ATMs at the Denver airport, are designed to “extend the reach of credit unions” in expanding the membership base, noted Mountain America. “One observation I’ve made in visits to the airport is that many members of an airline’s flight crews are using the ATMS, often with three or more members of a crew stopping at an ATM before boarding,” commented Brent Lawrence, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of Mountain America. Airport managers report many travelers seek out the ATMs. In preparation for the Olympics, said Lawrence, a decorative wrap was put on the ATMs last July “to make them more distinguishable by contrasting with other machines or color schemes along the airport concourses.” “In the months since we added the decorative wraps, our average monthly transaction numbers are up about 6% each month,” said Lawrence. Travel volume overall during 2001 was down 5% from year ago levels “so we feel good about the direction of the project,” concluded Lawrence. Carol Pugh, vice president of e-services at Delta Employees CU, said her CU’s investment in the Salt Lake project has proved “profitable” and worthwhile “and we’re eager to do it again” at other airports where the airline parent has berths. So far, she said the track record of CUs trying to win ATM contracts around the country has been spotty at best for a variety of reasons but mainly due to local politics and bureaucratic hurdles on the bidding process. In addition, after Sept. 11 airport agencies consumed with security issues put ATM contracts on low priority. Delta does have ATMs in restricted areas of some airports, but even in those areas “it has been a challenge to service them” because of security rules involving carrying of weapons and police escorts. “The Boston airport seems to give us some of our biggest problems, but we are working with people there and hope to overcome” the difficulties, she said. -</p> <p>[email protected]</p>

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