NEW YORK - The New York City Council is expected to pass a bill today that would impose the nation's toughest security standards for automated teller machines.

Bankers hope that the council will accept amendments to ease the compliance with requirements that include surveillance cameras, improved locks, and in some cases unarmed guards.

But with the 51 council members nearly unanimous in support of the legislation, most observers expect few changes.

No Sign of Flexibility

"We haven't seen anything that would indicate any change of direction on the part of the council," said one New York banker. "We are prepared for the worst."

Local bankers have fought the legislation since it was introduced late last year. Some estimates say it would raise New York banks' operating costs by at least $60 million a year - and bankers are complaining that many of the safety measures are not proven crime deterrents.

The law would take effect 180 days after passage, affecting 2,418 machines at 1,038 locations. The major banks are considering a federal court challenge.

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