WASHINGTON (6/17/09)--The Credit Union National Association has asked Congress to oppose any action on potential interchange fee legislation that could disrupt the consumer lending market and would ultimately harm consumers. In a letter delivered to members of Congress on Tuesday, CUNA said that H.R. 2695, “The Credit Card Fair Fee Act,” would “unfairly disrupt a functioning marketplace by giving merchants an enormous competitive advantage over card-issuing credit unions in interchange negotiations.” The legislation, introduced by Rep. John Conyers, Jr. (D-Mich.) earlier this month, would allow merchants to negotiate credit card transaction fees with financial institutions via an antitrust exemption. Granting this sort of leverage to retailers would limit the availability of credit, and could result in higher fees for those that do qualify for lines of credit. A number of credit unions would also be forced out of the credit card market altogether if interchange fees are “artificially” lowered, CUNA added. The bill is currently awaiting action from the House Judiciary Committee. Another piece of related legislation, H.R. 2382, “The Credit Card Interchange Fees Act,” would aim to limit unfair practices in electronic payment systems. According to CUNA, this legislation could allow merchants to reject credit union customers in favor of other payment systems. Retailers could also steer their consumers toward preferred forms of payment. H.R. 2382 has been referred to the House Financial Services Committee. CUNA has asked that any legislation addressing interchange fees be delayed until the Government Accountability Office can complete its study of interchange fees, as directed by the recently passed Credit Cardholders Bill of Rights Act of 2009. To see the full text of the letter, use the resource link.