WASHINGTON (2/28/11)--In a letter following hearings in the U.S. House and Senate on the Federal Reserve Board’s initial rulemaking on interchange, U.S. Sens. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) called on the board to create a “meaningful and workable small issuer exemption” before issuing its final rules. Hagan and Bennet’s Feb. 23 letter was in direct response to Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke’s testimony to the Senate Banking Committee last week, according to the North Carolina Credit Union League (NCCUL) (Weekly Update Feb. 24). The letter echoed many concerns expressed by lawmakers from both parties in Congress, and provided a signal that the grassroots efforts of credit unions had been heard by Congress. In addition to the small issuer exemption, Hagan and Bennet’s letter also called on the Fed to more adequately study the true transaction costs for institutions that are not exempt. “We would also like the board to adequately account for fraud prevention costs, which issuers typically absorb, when determining the final rule,” the letter said. “We appreciate Sens. Hagan and Bennet taking the time to express their concerns on interchange in writing,” said Dan Schline, NCCUL senior vice president of association services. He added that the letter demonstrates that “members of Congress are deeply concerned that the Federal Reserve Board’s initial rules on interchange have missed the boat on the intent of Congress when it passed the Durbin amendment.” Schline noted that Hagan will speak to nearly 100 North Carolina credit union representatives in Washington, D.C., this week for the Credit Union National Association Governmental Affairs Conference. “It will be a great opportunity to hear from the senator and to of course thank her for her efforts on interchange,” Schline said.