The ultimate question is whether banks and other financial institutions have to do anything. A bill requiring special protections for ATM customers foundered in 1986 when its congressional sponsor, Mario Biaggi, foundered in the Wedtech scandal, and comprehensive state laws have suffered similar fates. In California, for example, assemblyman Charles Calderon (D-Alhambra), has introduced a bill every year, setting standards for lighting, landscaping, location, and operating hours of ATMs; opposed by the banking industry, it has never passed.
Privately, banks may take responsibility for such crimes, even beyond federal law, which limits customer liability to $50 in unauthorized withdrawals. The banks surveyed by the BAI reported settling 22 of 32 lawsuits filed by victims of ATM crimes of violence. And although they have no legal obligation to customers robbed after leaving ATMs, many big banks quietly pay their claims.