Siding with the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, a three-member panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals in St. Louis decided on Thursday that states may not regulate automated teller machines operated by national banks.

The ruling was sought by Bank One Corp., which sued the state of Iowa after being ordered to remove its ATMs from Sears, Roebuck and Co. stores in late 1997. The state's Electronic Funds Transfer Act bars out-of-state banks' ATMs. A U.S. district court judge in Des Moines ruled last year against Bank One, which then appealed.

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