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I am writing to urge you to support s.2898, Senator Trible's Banking Convenience Act of 1984, a bill on which your Committee has scheduled hearings for Wednesday and Thursday, September 19 and 20. As President of Plus System, Inc. ("PSI"), the most extensive shared automated teller machine ("ATM") network in the country, I am convinced that this legislation is necessary to reverse the possible effects of a recent and erroneous federal district court decision; more importantly, it is needed in order to preserve the unprecedented consumer benefits of the PLUS SYSTEM network electronic access to the consumer's depository account wherever he or she travels throughout the country. Perhaps more than any other interested party, Plus System, Inc. is vitally affected by this bill and the court case that spawned it: owned by 34 financial institutions, including First Security Corporation, our company has over 1,000 member financial institutions in 47 states who share and allow their 23 million cardholders to use 3,300 ATMs. Formed in 1981 for the sole purpose of developing and operating this network, PSI in this short time has enabled its member banks to offer their customers convenient, reliable, low cost, and accurate electronic access to their accounts.

These consumer benefits, developed by PSI members at a cost of tens of millions of dollars, are now threatened by the erroneous April 1984 Federal District Court decision of IBAA V. Marine Midland Bank. That court apparently held that a national bank engages in "branch banking" when its customer merely uses an ATM owned by another institution. Although the decision is squarely contrary to long-standing lower and appellate court decisions as well as Comptroller of the Currency regulations and interpretations, it introduces so much uncertainty that legislative action is warranted.

PLUS SYSTEM, INC. Post Office Box 5060 • Denver, CO 80217 • 303/629-7755

S. 2898 precisely and narrowly corrects that decision by codifying the Comptroller's rules and interpretations on sharing of ATMs by national banks; proposed amendments that do more than this confuse and complicate a simple issue. With this legislation, the PLUS SYSTEM network can continue to provide efficient, reliable, and convenient account access to the 23 million cardholders of the 1,000 PSI member financial institutions. Combined with a conclusive judicial decision in Marine Midland and revised Comptroller regulations, the failure to adopt s.2898 would have devasting effects: (1) national banks, including the 400 that are PSI members, no longer could share their ATMs across states lines; (2) traveling consumers holding PLUS SYSTEM cards from national banks would be deprived of the speed, convenience, and reliability of national electronic access to their accounts; (3) the loss of national banks might so undermine PSI scale economies or reduce numbers of ATMs that the entire network may no longer be viable; (4) the competitive balance between national and state banks could be seriously undermined because national banks could not share terminals across state lines, yet there would be no similar restriction on state banks, S & Ls, or credit unions; (5) PSI members risk the loss of tens of millions of dollars that were invested in the network in reliance upon ten years of federal court decisions and Comptroller policy; (6) the uncertainty caused by Marine Midland will discourage PSI and financial institutions, particularly national banks, from investing further in shared ATMs systems and its technology, thereby depriving consumers of more efficient and convenient products and services; and (7) smaller financial institutions who are now members of PSI will be disproportionately hurt because they will lose the very benefits of a national ATM system that permit them to compete effectively against larger institutions.

PSI's position is more fully set forth in formal comments we have this day filed with the Senate Banking Committee.

Thank you for your consideration.

Cordially, yours,

Borning

D. Dale Browning
President

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Senator GORTON. Mrs. Cottrell.

STATEMENT OF MARY-PAT COTTRELL, VICE PRESIDENT, CITY.
TRUST (BRIDGEPORT, CT), AND CHAIRMAN OF THE BOARD,
ELECTRONIC FUNDS TRANSFER ASSOCIATION, ACCOMPANIED
BY HENRY POLMER, ESQ., BELL, BOYD & LLOYD
[The complete statement follows:)

Mr. Chairman and members of the Committee, my name is

Mary-Pat Cottrell.

I am Vice President of Corporate Financial

Services at CityTrust in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

I am also the

Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Electronic Funds

Transfer Association, in which capacity I

am testifying today.

I

am accompanied by Henry polmer, a partner in the law firm of

Bell, Boyd & Lloyd.

Mr. Polmer, who was the Deputy General

Counsel of the National Commission on Electronic Fund Transfers,

is the General Counsel of the EFT Association.

The Electronic Funds Transfer Association was

founded in 1977, just as a congressionally-created National

Commission on Electronic Fund Transfers was concluding its two

year study.

The EFT Association was created as

an ongoing forum

to promote the intelligent evolution of electronic funds transfer

("EFT"), and stands today as the only national, multi-industry

organization committed to addressing the broad range of issues

affecting the development and implementation of automated

financial services.

Association members include state and

national, large and small commercial banks, savings and loan

associations, mutual savings banks, credit unions and various

nondepository financial institutions as well as general

merchandise retailers, discount merchandisers, data processors,

equipment and software manufacturers, telecommunications

companies and many shared EFT networks.

The EFT Association's

concerns span a spectrum from government affairs to the

development of technical industry standards.

We are pleased to appear before this Committee to

express the views of our broad-based membership with regard to a

very narrow issue with extremely broad implications

namely the

shared use of EFT terminals.

Our role as

a forum for the EFT

ideas of every commercial group usually precludes our promoting any one group's legislative proposals which may be at odds with

the interests of other member groups.

Diversity in the EFT

Association is not merely a mixture of small institutions and

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is the gathering and exchange of information and most importantly

the analysis of EFT issues and their alternative solutions.

When

the EFT Association takes a public position, as we will today, we

do so only after attempting to ensure that it represents

a broad

consensus of opinion within the EFT community.

Mr. Chairman, there is a very broad concensus within

the EFT community today that the decision in the lawsuit filed by

the Independent Bankers Association of New York State against

Marine Midland Bank and Wegmans Food Markets could, if upheld by

the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, represent an unmitigated

disaster for the entire retail EFT industry.

As you know, the

district court opinion held that an automated teller machine, or

ATM, that was established, owned and onerated by a Wegmans Food

Market and made available for use by the customers of Marine

Midland Bank and many other state and national banks on

a

transaction fee basis, became a branch of Marine Midland even

39-248 0-84---10

though Marine Midland neither owned nor rented the machine.

If

the mere use of an EFT terminal by the customers of a national

bank which neither owns

nor rents it renders the terminal a

branch of the national bank, then such sharing across state

boundaries constitutes interstate branching and thousands of

national banks all across the United States have been unknowingly

engaged in unlawful branch banking for a very long time by

participating in the interstate sharing of ATMS.

If these shared

EFT systems are forced to stop operating, the enormous investment

in them could practically overnight become a gigantic waste of

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designed to deal in a straight-forward manner with the threat

that the Wegman's litigation poses to the immediate and long-term

existence of retail electronic funds transfer, and the Electronic

Funds Transfer Association applauds Senators Trible and Humphrey

for introducing s. 2898, which is a straight-forward solution

not to the long-term problems and general inequities which exist

in the financial industry

but to the specific impending

disaster posed by the Wegman's litigation.

The Electronic Funds

Transfer Association supports S. 2898, and we will have more

to

say about it later in our testimony.

First, however, I would

like to discuss the background and development of EFT terminal

sharing to give your Committee the perspective necessary to fully

understand the current crisis.

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