In 15 Years, SURF Network Has Really 'Caught' On!

June 20, 2014

This year marks the 15th Anniversary of the passage of legislation that enabled the formation of surcharge-free ATM Networks, including the SurF Network, a cooperative effort of Maine's credit unions. Since it first began in June 1999, the SurF Network has now become the largest, surcharge-free ATM Network in Maine with nearly 240 locations.

With members (and consumers, in general) yearning for more convenience and access, the Maine Credit Union League went to the Legislature in the winter of 1999 with legislation that would allow Maine credit unions and other financial institutions to form alliances in which their members (and customers) would not be charged a fee when using each others’ ATMs.

In March 1999, L.D. 240 – An Act to Amend the Maine Banking Code as it Pertains to ATM Surcharges was passed by the Maine Legislature.  Because of the growing need to form an ATM Surcharge-Free Alliance, an emergency preamble was added to the bill, which allowed it to go into effect immediately after being signed rather than waiting the customary 90 days following the end of the session.  On March 22, then-Governor Angus King signed the bill with representatives from Maine’s credit unions in attendance to witness the signing. 

Fifteen years after the SURF Alliance was formed and began operating in June 1999, there are now close to 240 surcharge-free ATMs that are part of the renamed SURF ATM Network.  John Murphy, President of the Maine Credit Union League, said the legislation transformed the ability of credit unions to compete with other financial institutions (especially the mega-banks).  “Today, more than 90% of the state’s credit unions belong to the SURF ATM Network; it is popular not only with members but with credit unions, as well, because it enables existing infrastructure to be utilized for the benefit of the members.”