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ABA Supports Bill to Strengthen ATM Robbery Penalties

The bill aims to establish a new federal statuary framework to govern ATM robbery offenses

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  • Written by  Banking Exchange staff
 
 
ABA Supports Bill to Strengthen ATM Robbery Penalties

The American Bankers Association (ABA) has urged House Judiciary Committee leaders to support a bill that would establish new criminal offenses for ATM robberies and related acts.

The Safe Access to Cash Act would codify ATM crimes under the Bank Robbery Act, which would ensure the penalties for such crimes are consistent with those imposed on bank robberies.

A violation under the Bank Robbery Act could be punishable by a maximum prison term of 20 years.

In a letter to leaders, ABA expressed support for the bill as ATMs provide communities with convenient access to cash and banking services when branches are closed or inaccessible.

However, the accessibility of ATMs makes them and the consumers that use them more vulnerable to criminal attacks, according to the organization.

ABA said ATMs have experienced a recent increase in criminal activity because banks and financial institutions have implemented stronger internal and external defenses to protect against attacks. As a result, ATMs have become easier targets for criminals.

Even when criminals’ attempts to steal from ATMs are unsuccessful, the attacks still often result in a loss of a service to the community while the ATMs are repaired or replaced, ABA added.

Kirsten Sutton, executive vice president of congressional relations and legislative affairs at ABA, said: “Attacks against ATMs have increased and will continue if criminals view them as easy targets with a low risk of prosecution.

“By encouraging the prosecution of these crimes and enforcing the same penalties as bank robberies, we hope that individuals at ATMs and the ATMs themselves will be less attractive targets for crime.”

The act was introduced by Rep. Rose, along with four cosponsors in May 2023 and has been referred to the House Committee.

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