The Automated Teller Machine industry is not happy about President Obama's comments that the development of ATMs has cost jobs. Here's a sampling of some of the feedback I've been getting.
Mike Lee, CEO of the ATM Industry Association, emailed me the following response:
‘President Obama should never use ATMs as an example of how technology replaces human labor because ATMs today play a critical role in providing extensive employment in the ATM and cash-in-transit industries. In addition, ATMs provide an indispensible range of services to customers, including all-hours access to their own banked cash. With over 400,000 in America alone, ATMs have become the main distribution channel for the distribution of cash in all modern economies and cash remains by far the most popular form of payment by US consumers. The whole purpose of the invention of the ATM back in 1967 was to make cash available outside of bank hours, liberating citizens to access their banked money 24 x 7, a huge increase in convenience. Given these major roles of the ATM, it would be quite irrational to turn the clock back to the 1960s to a time before ATMs.
Aimee Leeper, a spokeswoman for ATM manufacturer Triton Systems, which makes its machines in America and employees 200 people here, told me over the phone, "We're not in the business of taking American jobs. What I wish President Obama had thought of is that people want convenient access to their money. How crazy is that?"