More than a decade ago, the ATM Industry Association created a government relations committee to address legislation, rules and regulations pertinent to the ATM industry.

Through the years, the committee has worked to educate and inform legislators about the ins and outs of the industry and to keep ATM operators apprised of actions being taken on their behalf.

For more than 10 years, Mike Keller has been a prominent figure in the running of the government relations committee. He has contributed substantially to the many successes of the group, not only by serving as GRC co-chair, but also by contributing the unique insight into the industry that he acquired as legal counsel for Cardtronics, a global ATM operator.

Mike retired from Cardtronics earlier this year, and will formally retire from the GRC at the ATMIA conference in February.

Before leaving Cardtronics, Mike took a moment to chat with ATMIA about his time in the industry and his service on the government relations committee.

ATMIA: In the 10 years you spent with the government relations committee, what were the biggest wins?

MK: We had quite a few wins with the GRC, starting with bringing legitimacy to the nonbank ATM operator. While not an issue today, there was a time when third-party ATMs were not as trusted or respected as they are now.

Financial institutions allow us to put their name and brand on our machines now — this would not have happened without banks and credit unions seeing independent ATM deployers as legitimate businesses and having confidence in their abilities to manage ATMs.

Another victory was defeating the Harkin Amendment. As many may remember, in 2010 Senator Tom Harkin introduced a bill intended to impose a 50 cent cap on ATM surcharges.

The GRC was an active part of a larger coalition [working to ensure that] legislators were aware of the difficulties this would put on the ATM industry and the damage such a cap would create. Thankfully, the Harkin Amendment was defeated.

Other wins included enactment of numerous state laws that eliminated the ability of networks to force IADs to accept foreign cards without the ability to impose a surcharge fee, the repeal of Tennessee’s bank affiliation law and many more.

The most recent win was the Regulation E reform, addressing the overabundance of frivolous surcharge-notification lawsuits by eliminating the need for a physical surcharge notification decal, so long as a notification is displayed on the monitor prior to the cardholder completing the transaction.

ATMIA: What is the biggest issue currently facing the ATM industry?

MK: Operation Choke Point, without question. Choke Point is a severe threat to the industry. And even though there have been efforts made to halt the program, there is continuing concern that financial institutions are under pressure to close ATM settlement accounts.

photo stock

Suzanne Cluckey Suzanne’s editorial career has spanned three decades and encompassed all B2B and B2C communications formats. Her award-winning work has appeared in trade and consumer media in the United States and internationally. Source:

Mike Keller reflects on 10 years of fighting for the legislative interests of ATM owners