LANSING, Mich. (3/29/11)--In an attempt to stave off federal implementation of changes to the debit interchange system, the Michigan Credit Union League & Affiliates (MCUL) is launching a public campaign to support bills that would delay the changes. The bills are in the U.S. House (HR 1081) and Senate (S 575) (Michigan Monitor March 28). Using the theme “Save My Free Checking,” the campaign includes a radio ad blitz and asks listeners to contact lawmakers to advocate for Congress to stop the proposed rules and instead study the negative effects on consumers. The campaign will work along with SaveMyFreeChecking.com, which includes a petition to channel members’ voices toward their elected representative and turnkey materials for credit unions to use to supplement the campaign. Retailers already have started a radio ad campaign in Montana to intimidate one of the sponsors of legislation to delay the debit interchange rule, U.S. Sen. Jon Tester (D-Montana), MCUL said. It is important for credit unions, not only to encourage more support for the legislation, but also to show their appreciation for those who have shown political courage by sponsoring these bills, the league said. Congress is realizing the unintended consequences of the debit interchange amendment to the Dodd-Frank Act, and the credit union industry needs to show its unity and support for the new bills, their sponsors and their co-sponsors, MCUL said. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) opposes the cap on interchange fees and has told federal lawmakers that such action would harm consumers by driving up costs of debit cards, limiting consumer options, competition and technological innovation. Interchange fees allow business costs, including the risk of consumer nonpayment, to be shared by the payments participants, CUNA says.