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RANCHO CUCAMONGA, Calif.-Since CUs will likely have to change out one ATM at each branch next year, they should also consider adding imaging capability to the new machine they purchase.

That is the recommendation Kimberly Hester, EVP of network services for CO-OP Financial Services, who explained that the Department of Justice's final rule to mandate that at least one ATM at each financial services location have voice guidance for the sight impaired goes into effect March 15, 2012. "If you are going to have to replace a machine, you might as well take the next step and make it image capable. That will save you from having to eventually make that investment on that particular ATM. Many banks have this capability on their ATMs already. You'll also save money on handling deposits."

Hester said CO-OP is working with credit unions to provide guidance on what ATMs to purchase to comply with the new rule and where they can be acquired. "But credit unions should remember that not every ATM needs to be replaced. So if you have two at a location, only one has to have voice guidance."

Retrofitting an ATM for voice guidance is not, common practice and is not feasible, according to Hester, who also noted that CUs may not be paying close attention to a proposal by the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing to add a tactile feature to paper currency to assist the sight impaired. "We believe the current legislation will not affect the size of bills, just add the tactile feature. So for currency dispensers in lobbies or ATMs, this should not mean a change to money canisters. However, I am sure there will have to be some adjustments to dispenser settings and things of that nature."

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