WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday affirmed the right of national banks to operate automatic teller machines in states where they do not have a branch.The high court declined to hear an appeal by the Iowa superintendent of banking, who challenged a September 1999 decision by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. The latter court ruled that the National Bank Act preempts an Iowa law prohibiting banks with no branches in the state from operating ATMs there.

“We think the Eighth Circuit decision was excellent, and we are pleased it will stand,” said Julie L. Williams, chief counsel for the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency. The agency filed a friend of the court brief in the case on behalf of Bank One of Utah, which challenged the Iowa law after it was forced to pull 24 ATMs out of the state in 1997.

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