The problem with 2 dollar ATM fees is that they nickle and dime our residents for the benefit of the owners of the ATM who are often out of staters. Any publicly-traded bank is owned by all sorts of wealthy people, few of whom are Illinois residents or taxpayers. Since we have lost our status as a banking capital, we have even fewer reasons to favor the banks over residents on the margins of public policy. A bill I drafted for Senator Ira Silverstein is a good example of that thinking - and also an example of the incremental march of progress. (There are no revolutions in the legislature. Everything is incremental).
the bill is SB 156. The original bill is pretty tough: no bank can do business with the state if they charge more than 50 cents for their ATM. Well, the banks didn't like that, and to be fair that might be less than their actual cost. So somewhere between what they can get away with and their actual cost is a better deal for Illinois because lower fees keep that wealth in state for our taxpayers. The amendment basically kicks the policy over to the Treasurer who has the authority and discretion to consider a range of consumer-friendly services a bank offers if the bank wants a state contract. We'll see if the banks oppose even this seemingly innocuous step. Tune in next week for news.