Magazine article American Banker

Fed Approves Statewide, Multi-Institution ATM Network in Georgia

Magazine article American Banker

Fed Approves Statewide, Multi-Institution ATM Network in Georgia

Article excerpt

NEW YORK -- The Federal Reserve gave its approval Tuesday to a major statewide ATM network in Georgia, meaning that the interchange will be able to begin operations in September, a spokesman for the network said.

The Florida Interchange Group Inc., which will be marketed under the name "Avail," will link more than 600 automated teller machines initially, said Richard N. Speer Jr., president of Speer & Associates, Atlanta, the network's consultant.

Within a year of its startup, he added, the shared network will begin handling electronic payments at the merchant's counter, or point of sale.

Included in the new network are the state's largest banks, three thrift institutions, and a credit union. The ownership structure, which is a service company with minority equity interests held by the various institutions, is the same as was used for Florida's statewide network, Honor, which Speer & Associates also worked on.

In both the Florida and Georgia case, the inclusion of institutions other than commercial banks forced the banks in the network to go through a lengthy and paper-intensive approval process, Mr. Speer said.

"If it had just been banks, all they would have had to do is file a notification with the Fed," he said.

"What is unusual," he added, "is that all the S&Ls have to do is send a letter to the [Federal] Home Loan Bank Board. The banks have to fill out a compendium of paper."

The credit union, he said, was required to obtain approval from the state banking commissioner's office. …

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