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Interchange vote forces CUNA opposition to Sen. reform bill
WASHINGTON (5/14/10)—Late Thursday the U.S. Senate voted 64-33 in favor of including Sen. Richard Durbin’s (D-Ill.) interchange amendment in S. 3217, the Restoring American Financial Stability Act. Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President/CEO Dan Mica had vowed earlier in the day that credit unions would have “no choice but to vigorously oppose the financial regulatory reform bill” if the Senate adopted amendments that would require the government to regulate interchange fees. While one amendment offered by Sen. Durbin would ensure that the interchange provisions only applied to larger financial institutions, Mica said in a letter to each U.S. senator that while CUNA appreciates Durbin’s intention to “exempt credit unions from the harmful impact of his amendments,” his purported ‘carve out,’ “no matter how large,” would not do a great deal of good for credit union members and consumers. While CUNA in general has called for legislators to minimize the regulatory burdens and streamline requirements under which credit unions must operate as they move forward with regulatory reform, there has been selective criticism of other aspects of the bill and CUNA had called the bill, overall, a balanced approach to reform. CUNA Senior Vice President John Magill said last evening, “While we are clearly extremely disappointed, this is not the end of the road for the fight against these interchange provisions. There will be opportunities to affect this legislation as the Senate continues toward a final vote.” In related news, CUNA, in a separate letter sent to Senate Banking Committee leaders Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) and Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) earlier this week, also opposed "excluding any non-depository institution provider of financial products, including auto dealers, from the rules promulgated" by the proposed bureau of consumer financial protection (BCFP). Doing so would "defeat the purpose of creating the new consumer regulator, would put credit unions at a competitive disadvantage in the new regulatory regime," and could potentially "cause confusion for consumers of financial products," the letter added. The U.S. Treasury’s Assistant Secretary for Financial Institutions Michael Barr this week spoke out against that proposed amendment. “For the sake of responsible consumers--as well as for responsible community banks and credit unions--we must ensure that all businesses that are significantly engaged in providing consumer financial products and services play by the same basic rules of the road,” Barr said in a statement. Use the resource link below to read Barr’s statement.
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