Leading the Charge for the ATM Industry


In the beginning…there were bank ATMs. Palm Desert National Bank, to be exact.

Our story begins in 1993 when a chief financial officer arranged for her employer to place their first off-premise ATM in the Palm Desert Mall. The machine was a Diebold unit, costing the bank over $20,000. But she had run the numbers. At $0.99 per transaction, the bank would make money…and it did.

Over the next decade and a half, Sandra Hartfield Papie oversaw the ATM program for Palm Desert National Bank, rising to president and CEO of the Electronic Banking Division – placing 186 bank owned machines.

“Placing off-premise ATMs was a big deal for a community bank back in the early 90’s. Not knowing if this would be successful, we concentrated on malls because the only other off-premise ATMs we were familiar with were at the local 7 Eleven stores,” Sandra says.

However, it was not until she figured out how to use reserve cash to provide cash to non-bank ATMs that the electronic banking division really took off. Called “vault cash,” the system allowed the bank to partner with ATM locations to make additional revenue without the hassle of owning or operating the machine.

“We were blazing trails, figuring out how to manage cash in so many different locations” said Sandra. “Our competition was Tom Stephenson and Cash Connect. We supplied cash to large and small companies all over the US. It was fun going into a store, checking the ATM and thinking that’s our cash.”

Of course, running vault cash for a multitude of ATMs presented its own problems. Fortunately, Sandra was able to pull on her experience as a financial officer to help develop special internal software. Eventually, the program was generating a hefty portion of revenue for Palm Desert National Bank.

Sandra wasn’t just “blazing trails” for Palm Desert, either. In 2000 she became the first Global Board Chair for the ATM Industry Association (ATMIA) and Treasurer of the Electronic Funds Transfer Association (EFTA). As chairperson, she was influential in bringing the two organizations together.

Today Sandra is still heavily involved in the ATM industry serving as Director of Sales, North America for Monex Financial Services Ltd as well as consulting for other ATM companies. She has also continued her involvement and board participation with ATMIA.

“The industry has come a long way since 1993,” Sandra says. “Today more than half of the ATMs in the U.S. are owned and operated by independent ATM deplorers, not financial institutions.”

When asked what she would like to see happen in the future, she’s quick to respond that she would like to see more women becoming active within the industry; participating and holding leadership positions in ATMIA.

Women have helped drive the industry to where it is today,” said Sandra. “ATMIA is an industry organization. I would love to see more women stepping into leadership roles, especially the Global ATMIA Board.”

Help ATMIA celebrate the 50th anniversary of the ATM and the 20th anniversary of the association by sharing your stories. Contact Sharon Lane, ATMIA Global Director of Member Services, at +001-605-271-7371.


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