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CU System
HarborLight Option 1 asks members to help save free checking
LANSING, Mich. (4/26/11)--Two credit unions in Michigan are enlisting their memberships in a campaign to stop the interchange rule and save free checking for consumers (Michigan Credit Union League Michigan Monitor April 18).
Harborlight CU, Whitehall, Mich., is among the Michigan credit unions educating its membership on the possible effects of the interchange proposal. Here, HarborLight CU staff member Cheryl Brown, left, explains to member Kelley Patino how to send a message to her legislators the debit interchange law.
Harborlight CU displays a poster in its lobby urging its members to take a proactive stance in preserving free checking.
Harborlight CU, Whitehall, Mich., designed “Save My Free Checking” cards and is handing them out to all members. HarborLight CEO Linda Wood said the efforts began by educating frontline staff about how the interchange rule will impact both credit unions and consumers. Member service representatives urge members to contact their local congressional members. The credit union is also displaying a poster in its lobby. CEO Linda Wood said members have asked questions about the rule. “I think they will respond,” Wood said. Option 1 CU, Grand Rapids, has designed a brochure explaining to members what the interchange proposal means and what they can do to help. The brochure cover page is headlined “Congress and the Federal Reserve want to force you to pay more to use your debit card. Learn how you can help.” Inside, the brochure outlines the interchange issue, explains what members can do to repeal the amendment and provides talking points for correspondence with congressional representatives. Jerri Schmidt, Option 1 vice president of marketing, said credit union employees at all levels are urging members to contact their legislators about repealing the proposal. “Wherever we come in contact with members, we try to educate them on the issue,” Schmidt told News Now. “It’s become more and more of a priority for us.” Schmidt said Option 1 has considered doing an e-mail blast to its entire membership about the interchange proposal. The Michigan Credit Union League, like other state credit union assocations, is encouraging state credit unions to join the cause and help fight the interchange rule, which is scheduled to go into effect on July 21. Interested credit unions can visit SaveMyFreeChecking.com for ideas on how to help. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) opposes a proposal in Congress capping interchange fees and has told federal lawmakers that such action would harm consumers by driving up costs of debit cards, limiting consumer options, and harming competition and technological innovation. Interchange fees allow business costs, including the risk of consumer nonpayment, to be shared by the payments participants, CUNA said.
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