WASHINGTON (1/27/11)--With the Federal Reserve’s April 21 deadline to craft a final rule on government controls on interchange fees steadily approaching, the House Financial Services Committee has tentatively scheduled a Feb. 17 hearing to study the Fed’s planned implementation. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) has urged outright repeal of proposed interchange fee regulations. However, in the absence of repeal, CUNA has argued that lawmakers and the Federal Reserve should take time to review the interchange rules, and has urged lawmakers to conduct hearings on the interchange fee proposal. The Fed's interchange provisions, which were released just before the end of the year, could cap debit card interchange fees that are paid by merchants to card issuers at as little as seven cents per transaction. Issuers with under $10 billion in assets would be exempt from the interchange changes. The Fed proposal will remain open for public comment until Feb. 22. Fed officials during their December meeting said that the interchange provisions, if ultimately approved, would likely not become effective until after April. Also on the committee’s agenda, based on a tentative two-month scheduled released Tuesday by its chairman, Rep. Spencer Bachus (R-Ala.), are hearings on:
* Monetary policy and jobs, Feb. 9 (10 a.m.); * GSE reform, Feb. 9 (2 p.m.); * Markup of committee oversight plan, Feb. 10 *Implementation of derivatives provisions of Dodd-Frank Act, Feb. 15 (10 a.m.); * Government-sponsored enterprises' (GSE) legal fees, Feb. 15 (2 p.m.); * Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, Feb. 16 (10 a.m.); * Housing finance, Feb. 16 (2 p.m.); * The Fed’s interchange plan, as mentioned, Feb. 17; * GSE reform, March 1; * HUD FY 2012 budget, March 2; and * Humphrey-Hawkins semi-annual Federal Reserve report on monetary policy, March 3.