by Hank Schlesinger
The National ATM Council has wrapped up its third Washington, D.C., “fly in.” Called ATMs Go to Washington III, which took place July 23 -24, it attracted more than 50 ATM operators from across the country (and as far away as Alaska) to attend more than 50 meetings with lawmakers and staffers on Capitol Hill from both the House of Representatives and Senate. These meetings included a majority of the members of the Senate Banking committee, the House Financial Services committee, and Congressional leadership from both Chambers. As association officials noted, the number of attendees and Hill meetings were the most ever for this industry.
“We received a very positive response to our issues across the board,” said NAC Board Chair and Access One CEO George Sarantopoulos. “If you organize and bring yourself to the Hill, I believe you can be effective. You don’t want to be left out, and you don’t want to be un-represented. And there is always bi-partisan support for small businesses.”
As Sarantopoulos noted, the group arrived with a tightly focused agenda. Topping that list was legislation designed to ensure preservation of consumer choice for using cash as a payment method in the U.S. similar to the wave of local and state legislation on the same issue. Because this involves the treatment of U.S. currency, NAC and other interested parties feel that a uniformed national policy, rather than a piecemeal approach, is in order.
Another critical industry topic discussed with lawmakers was the ongoing epidemic of bank account closures for certain industries. The issue, which was also raised during past fly in events, continues to plague the ATM industry, music and games operators, and other businesses. A grim echo of Operation Choke Point, which ended in 2017, closures have continued to threaten the livelihoods of ATM deployers nationwide.
“Lobbying is basically an educational process,” Sarantopoulos said. “When we go to Capitol Hill, we go to educate lawmakers and their staffs about our business and voice our concerns. And I believe they heard the ATM Nation loud and clear this week.”
The National ATM Council, Inc. is a not-for-profit national trade association dedicated to ethically and effectively representing the business interests of ATM owners, operators and suppliers in their efforts to provide safe, secure and convenient delivery of cash to consumers throughout the United States.
For additional information, visit the NAC website at: www.natmc.org.