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Interchange advocacy efforts continue in CUNA Hill visit
WASHINGTON (5/19/11)—A Wednesday meeting with Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) was the latest example of credit union advocacy in the face of pending interchange regulations.
Click to view larger image CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney (left), Senior Vice President of Legislative Affairs John Magill (far left) and Vice President of Legislative Affairs Ryan Donovan (center) discuss the issues that interchange fee cap regulation would cause consumers and credit unions during a meeting with Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) (far right) and a member of her staff. (CUNA Photo)
Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Bill Cheney, flanked by Senior Vice President of Legislative Affairs John Magill and Vice President of Legislative Affairs Ryan Donovan, urged the senator's support for a delay of the implementation of the interchange fee cap regulations. CUNA has noted the Federal Reserve's proposed debit card interchange fee cap of seven cents to 12 cents, down from a current average charge of 44 cents, would result in fees that are far below any card issuer's per transaction cost, eliminating any return on debit-card products and services. This reduction would likely force an introduction of new fees to all consumers who are debit card users, and could limit access to credit for some low-income debit card users. The statutory deadline for a Fed proposal is July 21, and the agency is expected to release a proposal before that date. CUNA has called on Congress to “Stop, study and start over” on the interchange proposal, and to ensure that a planned interchange exemption for credit unions and other small issuers with under $10 billion in assets would work as planned. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, whose agency is developing the interchange regulations, and several other regulators have said that they are unsure that the exemption will work in practice. A CUNA grassroots action alert has generated approximately 320,000 communications to federal lawmakers, and state credit union leagues and individual credit unions continue to be active in their own districts. CUNA and its partners in the Electronic Payments Coalition have jointly filed a court document in support of TCF National Bank's (TCF) lawsuit to block the Federal Reserve Board's implementation of proposed debit card interchange fee cap regulations. The TCF suit states that the government cannot write laws that would arbitrarily prevent a given business from recovering its costs sufficiently to avoid losses on its various business operations. For CUNA coverage of recent interchange actions, use the resource links.


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