ST. PAUL, Minn. (6/21/10)--Mark D. Cummins, president/CEO of the Minnesota Credit Union Network (MnCUN), discussed interchange fee legislation in his monthly column in Finance & Commerce
In, “Interchange fee proposal a ‘lose-lose,’” Cummins discussed the “toxic” interchange amendment inserted into the Senate’s version of the financial regulatory reform bill. He noted the amendment has financial institutions “gravely concerned over its unintended consequences.” The Senate bill’s interchange language would allow the government to control interchange fees. The Credit Union National Association opposes the amendment, and hundreds of credit union representatives nationwide went to Washington last week to voice their opposition to the interchange changes. More than half a million credit union backers have done the same through phone calls or electronic messages to their elected representatives. “We fully support Congress’ attempts to protect consumers with its financial reform, but including this interchange provision in the final financial regulatory reform bill would actually hurt consumers in the long run,” Cummins said in the article. He referred to a bipartisan congressional letter circulating on Capitol Hill that agrees with credit unions’ viewpoint--that the interchange provision “will devastate credit unions and community banks and harm every consumer that uses debit and credit cards to pay for everyday essentials and large purchases alike … while providing no discernable benefits for consumers.” The letter, delivered Wednesday to conferees tasked with reconciling the House and Senate versions of the bill, was signed by 131 members of Congress. Cummins also cited a report on interchange published by the Government Accountability Office in 2009 that says limiting or decreasing interchange fees could shift the cost from merchants to card holders. “Simply stated? The interchange amendment will hurt consumers by raising the price of basic banking products,” Cummins wrote. MnCUN’s next column is slated to run July 16. For more information, use the link.