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CUNA targets interchange issue
WASHINGTON (5/13/08)—The House and Senate are in session this week and the upcoming hearing of interest to credit unions is the one planned by the House Judiciary Committee on credit card interchange fees. The House panel is scheduled to hear testimony Thursday on H.R. 5546, The Credit Card Fair Fee Act, which the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) strongly opposes. CUNA has been working closely with the Electronic Payments Coalition on testimony to oppose the bill under which interchange rates and terms would be determined by Electronic Payment System Judges, to be appointed by the Department of Justice Antitrust Division and the Federal Trade Commission. CUNA believes that the free market should set the interchange fees, not the government, according to Ryan Donovan, CUNA vice president of legislative affairs. He noted that interchange fees assist the growth of universal acceptance of cards and the innovation of super-fast authorization technology and enhanced security measures. Donovan said CUNA has been active on the interchange issue on the Senate side, as well. While there is no bill introduced in that body, Donovan said CUNA has participated in a Senate Judiciary Committee briefing on the issue. “The Senate is aware that the subject has generated a lot of interest in the House and is looking into the issues involved,” he explained. Donovan said that if the bill progresses through the House Judiciary Committee, other House panels may claim some authority over the legislation. He said that both the House Financial Services Committee and, perhaps, House Energy and Commerce might assert jurisdiction over the measure.


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