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CUNA trades note depth of interchange delay allies
WASHINGTON (4/13/11)--The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) has joined eight other trade associations to point out “the extraordinary breadth and depth of organizations and government officials” that have expressed concern over the Federal Reserve’s plan, which would set a cap on debit interchange fees. In a letter to key regulators, the groups cite critical comments made by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA), the Comptroller of the Currency, several senators, various chambers of commerce and other groups. The criticisms have noted the need for additional study of the impact of the new interchange regulations, the harm that the new regulations could inflict on consumers, small merchants and small financial institutions, and other legal considerations related to interchange fee cap implementation mandated for debit card services by the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act. The trade group letter was sent to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, and NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz, as well as other key regulators. The letter was also sent to the White House and House and Senate financial services committee leaders. Interchange concerns also have been aired by TechNet, a technology industry group that represents firms such as Apple, Cisco, craigslist, eBay, Symantec, Google, HP, Intel, Facebook, Microsoft and Yahoo. According to a TechNet letter, which was sent to Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) last week, the new interchange provisions will “drive networks to cut costs by routing consumer’s financial transactions through cheaper networks regardless of a network’s security or functionality. TechNet also predicted that the interchange proposal would impact payment network operations by making cost savings a greater priority than security. “The new regime would also make it more difficult for banks and other financial institutions to quickly and efficiently identify fraud and other financial infringements on networks operating with minimal security components,” the letter adds. CUNA has called on Congress to “stop, study and start over” on the interchange fee cap regulations. Credit union backers have made over 85,000 separate contacts to members of Congress since CUNA launched an action alert last month. This type of direct, grassroots advocacy is vital to the interchange fight, and CUNA later today will hold a conference call to prepare credit unions and their members for additional action during the upcoming district work session. (See related story: Registration still open for CUNA call on interchange) For the letters, use the resource links.


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