August 12, 1997
Contact: Michael Briggs 202/224-8538


      CHICAGO--Senator Carol Moseley-Braun, D-Ill., presided Tuesday over a Banking Committee field hearing studying the impact of Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) surcharges on consumers and small banks.

      I believe it is important to hold field hearings on important issues such as ATM surcharges," said Senator Moseley-Braun. "Local perspective is invaluable when considering an issue that is being examined on a national level. In the Chicago area, more than half of the 4,400 ATMs have a surcharge."

      Senator Moseley-Braun is a co-sponsor of bipartisan legislation introduced by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Alfonse D'Amato, R-NY., that would ban surcharges.

      In a report released earlier this year, the General Accounting Office documented a threefold increase from 1995 to February 1, 1997, in the number of ATMs that imposed surcharges. The fees typically add $1 to $3 to the cost of withdrawing cash from an ATM, but Senator Moseley-Braun cited a private study that showed the actual cost of a transaction was about 25 cents. "This represents a market that is out of whack and is something that the financial industry itself ought to fix," she said. "This is greed over need."

      The hearing consisted of three panels of experts from the banking community.

      The first panel featured Loretta Bailey, with the Illinois Public Interest Research Group, and Nancy Cowles, Executive Director for the Illinois Coalition for Consumer Rights.

      The second panel featured Stephen Cole, the President and CEO of Cash Station, Inc. George Fiegle, EVP & COO of the Illinois Credit Union System, and Carl Sorgatz, President/CEO Hawthorne Credit Union, Illinois Credit Union System.

      The third panel featured David E. Sorkin, Assistant Professor of Law at the John Marshall Law School, and William G. Marshall, Treasurer of Nalco Chemical Company.