The National ATM Council (NAC), is a non-profit national trade organization that supports and represents the business interests of ATM owners and suppliers. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the NAC has been hard at work advocating for the ATM industry and its workers.
George Sarantopoulos, NAC Chair, recently wrote in a letter to NAC members, “For all but a few of us, the nationwide shutdown has inflicted serious financial loss and hardship. But, as we’ve seen again and again, IADs are resilient and never run away from a challenge. This is not the first time we have seen a new normal in the ATM industry. Just as we helped consumers and business owners get access to cash after 9/11, our industry is an “essential service” that once again is overcoming barriers to provide consumers with convenient, safe access to cash nationwide.
“Behind the scenes, NAC has also been collaborating with terminal manufacturers and many other industry experts to develop safety guidelines for ATM deployers and to fight baseless attacks against cash with real facts and data. Among other results, this work has helped get the WHO to disavow its initially reported warnings about using cash during the pandemic and has helped make sure ATM providers were included in the ‘essential services’ group to continue operating wherever locations remained open.”
Here are some of the ways that NAC has been advocating for the ATM Industry
Essential Workers & Small Business Relief
The NAC has been in contact with government officials to ensure that IADs and ATM servicers are included in the list of “essential services” in order to keep ATMs operational. Additionally, NAC and contacts in Washington D.C. have worked to make sure that ATM companies were included in the CARES Act to provide small business financial relief. NAC has also, “assembled and provided to our members essential information about financial relief at local/state/federal levels, and has helped many NAC members that have faced issues with bank-imposed cash withdrawal limits and misclassifications that would have completely prevented access to SBA loans for ATM companies.”
Led by Executive Director Bruce Renard, the NAC has been working closely with public health agencies, the Federal Reserve, Homeland Security, Secret Service, and Congress to ensure the safety and security of ATM businesses during the global pandemic.
The NAC has initiated the creation of the Consumer Choice in Payments Coalition (CCPC) to “advocate for the continued availability of cash as a payment option for consumers throughout the U.S.” For example, in a recent press release, the CCPC cited scientific evidence that “cloth/linen-based U.S. currency is actually more germ proof and less of a transmission risk than non-porous plastic charge cards and mobile phones.”
In his letter, Sarantopoulos also stated, “The post-pandemic downturn will also likely move millions more Americans into the ranks of the unbanked and underbanked who rely heavily on cash. The U.S. Independent/Retail ATM industry needs to stay strong – so we can be ready to serve the increased cash needs that will undoubtedly mark the days ahead.”