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Op-ed Interchange will hit local families
SAGINAW, Mich. (4/15/11)--The Federal Reserve's proposal on interchange fees "could potentially hit local families in the wallet" and have "the unintended consequence of squeezing consumers by potentially endangering vital services such as free checking," according to an opinion-editorial published in the Saginaw (Mich.) News (April 14) and written by a Michigan credit union CEO. Tim Benecke, president/CEO of Wildfire CU, a $609.3 million asset credit union in Saginaw, wrote that its member-owners "are families who have been credit union members for years in the Great Lakes Bay Region; local small business owners who built their dream with credit union loans; residents who bought a home thanks to affordable credit union mortgages." "That's why a plan in Congress that impacts all debit card fees could potentially hit local families in the wallet," he said, adding that "government should not choose winners and losers in the marketplace." The Durbin Amendment "does just that, and must be delayed, studied and fixed," Benecke said. He noted credit unions "are fighting back to protect our members' free checking and other services through a website called savemyfreechecking.com." Credit unions "absorb all the risks and costs of fraud. By cutting interchange fees by 75%, financial institutions of all sizes will be forced to cut programs rather than supporting consumers and making loans to help the economy. It will hurt those who can afford it the least--low-income households with basic checking accounts." Credit unions are calling on Congress to support a bipartisan plan to delay the implementation of the fee cap for a two-year study period, Benecke pointed out. For the full article, use the resource link. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) supports the bipartisan plan to delay implementation. CUNA and the state leagues have launched a grassroots "Call on Congress" campaign provides a toll-free phone number, website and other resources so that credit unions can mobilize their members in urging Congress to "stop, study and start" over on interchange.
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