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News Now

CU System
Interchange addressed in Longs meeting with CUs
SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (5/24/11)--The need for a delay in implementing the debit interchange amendment led the conversation that representatives of five Springfield area credit unions had with U.S. Rep. Billy Long (R-Mo.) May 16 at a meeting in his district office.
Click to view larger image Members of Springfield, Mo., credit unions who recently met with U.S. Rep. Billy Long (R-Mo.) about interchange were, from left: Don Ackerman, TelComm; Amy McLard, Missouri Credit Union Association; Steve Pierson, Postal Federal Community; Cathy Stroud, Community Financial; Carolina Decker, CU Community; Long; Judy Hadsall, CU Community; and Debbie Bills and Kathie Peterie, Metro. (Photo provided by the Missouri Credit Union Association)
Long discussed the issue at length and said his office is hearing from merchants, claiming they are responsible for fraud costs. Meeting attendees brought up a recent data breach and fraud at Sony and Michaels Stores, and how financial institutions cover fraud costs (The Missouri difference May 20). “Our meeting with Congressman Long illustrated that too often [lawmakers] are given misinformation by our opponents, as was the case here,” said Steve Pierson, Postal Federal Community CU president/CEO. The Federal Reserve is not allowed to incorporate most fraud costs into the calculation for the debit interchange rule that is set to go into effect on July 21, said the Missouri Credit Union Association. Although it was due on April 21, the final rule has not been released. The House bill, H.R. 1081, the Consumers Payment System Protection Act, is co-sponsored by U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (R-Mo.), and would delay implementation of the debit interchange amendment language for one year. Attendees also discussed the need to increase member business lending limits for credit unions and the importance of the credit union tax-exempt status. U.S House members nationwide are home in their districts this week. “I think it’s important to get an audience with our politicians as much as possible in today’s environment,” said Judy Hadsall, CU Community CU president/CEO. “We provided information on several issues to Mr. Long, and as a businessman, he understands the importance of protecting the open marketplace without government intervention.” 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. CUNA supports delaying implementation of the proposal until its impact is studied. In a related matter, Cathy Stroud, president/ CEO of Community Financial CU, Springfield, is representing credit union concerns as a member Long’s Small Business and Banking Advisory Council. Long established the council to focus on small business and banking policies, legislation, and additional concerns of the small business and banking industries. Stroud accepted the invitation last week.


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