Aug 15, 2019
NAC March on Washington With OptConnect
The National ATM Council (NAC) has done a tremendous amount of research, lobbying, and advocating for the retail ATM industry over the last few years in Washington D.C. I have had the benefit of attending their last two annually organized meetings and have appreciated learning how the process works in D.C. The latest NAC march on Washington brought a lot of ATM trends and challenges to light. As a member of ATMIA, I recently attended the latest lobbying meeting, and I want to share my view on what the process is like, what I feel has been accomplished so far, and also shed some light on how you can help.
ATM History Timeline
The Lobbying ProcessIf you’re wondering what the process is like when you meet with Senate and House representatives, it really is no different than many business meetings you’ve been in before, but there is a careful effort weeks and months in advance of meetings to decide the strategy beforehand on who should meet with whom, what topics will be discussed, and most importantly what legislation we are seeking support for, or what are the ‘asks’ or takeaways from the meetings will be. Washington is a tough place to make progress these days, but I've certainly learned that anything worth fighting for in life doesn't come easy. For example, in 2017, there was a great bill for the Retail ATM Industry called The Financial Institution Consumer Protection Act that passed overwhelmingly in the House but has since stalled in the Senate. NAC and OptConnect continue to support efforts to get parts of the Consumer Protection Act written into recent legislation like Congressman Ed Pearlmutter’s SAFE Banking Act of 2019.
NAC March on Washington - What Was AccomplishedIn many meetings this year there were several great businesses represented and our country’s lawmakers heard first hand from all of us about the seemingly endless merry-go-round that many IAD’s are facing from banks. Bank account closures for these types of businesses are becoming more and more frequent, and often banks give no legitimate reason as to why the accounts have been closed. There could be many reasons for banks to have uneasiness these days. Many larger banks are still feeling aftershocks from the 2007-08 Financial Crisis, but with the vast amount of bank closures we've seen in this industry, many think that the banks are lumping ATM owner/operators in with businesses targeted in 2013's Operation Choke Point even though the ATM Industry has been cleared from these labels several times! This is a misunderstood issue and is one that OptConnect and the NAC tried to clean up this year, and left behind several points in each meeting about the best practices that made it adamantly clear there is a closed-loop system for the vault cash-settlement process. Careful planning and support for this year’s meetings led us to ask representatives for support of two things:
- Support for H.R. 2650, “The Payment Choice Act of 2019
- An amendment to the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) to clarify that the CRA obligates banks to provide deposit services, not just credit services, to their communities