DC Update: President Signs ATM Disclosure Bill, Frank Calls for Financial Crimes Crackdown (Jan. 2, 2013)
Jan. 2, 2013
While 2012 drew to a close with all eyes focused on the looming “fiscal cliff,” a pair of other late-December developments out of Washington had many in the financial services industry taking notice.
President Obama signed into law a bill that will eliminate the requirement that duplicative fee disclosure signs be posted on ATMs. The bill, which was sponsored by House Rep. Blaine Luetkenmeyer (R.-Mo.) and received bipartisan support, will protect banks and ATM owners from lawsuits, such as those filed by one person in Missouri who, according to Luetkenmeyer, filed a suit over missing fee-disclosure stickers and reaped a settlement of more than $100,000. The law is an amendment to the Electronic Funds Transfer Act, which previously required an ATM to display a physical sticker carrying a fee notices on or near an ATM in addition to an on-screen fee notice. The requirement for an on-screen notice remains intact.
Meanwhile, outgoing Rep. Barney Frank (D.-Mass.) and former chair of the House Financial Services Committee slammed the Justice Department’s decision not to prosecute HSBC bank executives over allegations that the bank violated U.S. anti-money laundering (AML) rules, settling instead for a $1.9 billion settlement payout from the bank.
In a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, Frank also called for increased prosecution of financial crimes, including targeting specific individuals for charges in order to preserve “the integrity of our financial system.” Frank rejected claims that such criminal prosecutions against individuals would destabilize the U.S. banking system and that civil sanctions were thus preferable. “From the standpoint of deterrence, prosecuting individuals is preferable as this raises few if any questions about institutional stability,” Frank wrote.