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Hundreds of CU reps to mobilize on interchange in Hill visits
WASHINGTON (6/8/10)--Starting today, nearly 800 credit union representatives from across the nation will again spread the credit union message and, more specifically, will engage their respective elected representatives to drum up opposition to portions of the Senates financial regulatory reform package that address interchange fees. The Credit Union National Association’s latest Hike the Hill, which will take place today and tomorrow, is expected to “reach every member of Congress,” CUNA’s Senior Vice President of Legislative Affairs John Magill said. However, a delegation from Louisiana has opted to focus on in-district work on interchange to allow their Washington-based legislators to continue to monitor the ongoing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. CUNA is also taking the interchange argument to the broadcast media this week by airing an advertisement in several key states. An amendment offered by Sen. Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) and included in the Senate regulatory reform bill would allow government intervention in setting interchange fees. However, the House version of financial regulatory reform legislation does not contain similar language. While retailers have argued that reducing interchange fee expenses would allow them to pass on savings to consumers, CUNA has countered by stating that these new rules could allow merchants to direct consumers to use preferred forms of payment. CUNA has also said that this rule change forces the Fed into the role of a price-fixing body, when interchange fees should be driven by market forces. The interchange legislation could potentially be addressed during the House/Senate conference committee, which could potentially begin this week. CUNA expects the conference committee to hold session on June 15-17 and June 22-24. The House is expected to name its conferees on Wednesday. The Senate recently named Chris Dodd (D-Conn.), Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), Blanche Lincoln (D-Ark.), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) to serve as its conferees.

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