Lawmakers in New York State, one of the nation's most important banking states, are poised to pass legislation opting in early to interstate branching and allowing out-of-state banks to come into New York by purchasing as little as one branch.
The bill, part of a landmark package that also includes comprehensive security standards for automated teller machine sites, passed the state Assembly on Monday and was expected to pass the Senate as early as late Tuesday.
Gov. George E. Pataki, who worked with lawmakers and bankers on drafting the bill, is expected to sign it. The opt-in provision would take effect immediately, allowing New York to join most of its neighbors in New England and the Middle Atlantic states.
The law, which requires reciprocity until the federal trigger date of June 1, 1997, does not permit de novo branching as a means for an out-of- state bank to enter New York but does allow such banks to buy only one branch to gain entry.
"Passage of the interstate banking and branching provisions contained in my legislation will help New York maintain its worldwide preeminence in the banking field," Mr. Pataki said in a statement. "A robust, thriving banking sector is a key element in my program for economic renewal in New York State."
"We strongly support it," said Michael Smith, executive vice president of the New York State Bankers Association, "and we felt that the approach was reflective of our money-center and community banking members."
The linked bill establishing statewide minimum requirements for ATM security includes provisions for each site to have surveillance cameras, locking entry devices, sufficient lighting, mirrors, and posted warnings for customers. The bill also sets structural standards for the ATM sites.
The legislation would not cover unenclosed ATMs at supermarkets, airports, schools, or other public buildings if access to the sites is limited to the hours when the buildings are open.
Also, the legislation provides for the State Banking Department to grant exemptions in certain cases of hardship for banks.
Mr. Smith said the legislation is the most comprehensive ATM security regulation passed by any state, although several others have some such provisions. The bill was based on ordinances adopted in New York City and surrounding counties in the early 1990s after a rash of crimes at ATMs.
The bill stalled in the Legislature last year because of prolonged budget talks and opposition to a provision that protected banks from liability if they complied with ATM rules. The provision was removed because of concern that it would actually create liability for banks instead.