Regulators OK Rules to Expand Services at ATMs

Article excerpt

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Savings and loan customers will be able to open a checking account or apply for a loan at an ATM machine under new rules adopted Monday by federal regulators seeking to encourage new electronic technologies.

The move by the Office of Thrift Supervision came the same day the Clinton administration announced a series of steps aimed at promoting global commerce on the Internet while giving consumers adequate protections against cyber-fraud.

Thrift agency officials said the new rules were needed to help the nation's savings and loans keep pace with rapidly changing technology, such as home-banking personal computers, automated loan machines and smart cards. "We did not want to impede thrifts' use of technology," OTS Director Ellen Seidman said in a statement. "We also want to make certain that thrifts continue to operate on a sound financial footing and abide by all applicable laws and regulations when adopting electronic delivery systems." Under the changes, federally chartered S&Ls will be allowed to engage in any activity through electronic means that they are permitted to do in more traditional ways. That removes restrictions against full use of automated teller machines and loan machines, personal computers, the Internet, stored value cards and other electronic devices used in the banking industry. …

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