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Washington
Wasserman Schultz CUs can halt interchange train
WASHINGTON (3/3/11)--The “runaway interchange train” may have recently left the station, “but the time has come to stop it in its tracks,” Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) told attendees at the Wednesday session of the Credit Union National Association’s (CUNA) 2011 Governmental Affairs Conference.
Click to view larger image After “smoking out” merchants’ true interchange intentions, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) said that she has turned her eyes toward halting the progress of the Federal Reserve’s interchange fee proposal. (CUNA Photo)
“There is too much at stake. We must get this right,” she said. She called on credit unions to help her fight for further consideration of interchange fee changes, and added that she would work with any legislator who wants to help fix interchange issue facing credit unions and other small issuers. Wasserman-Schultz, who was one of 105 House members who tried to keep language on interchange fees out of the final comprehensive financial regulatory legislative package, added that the Federal Reserve’s interchange fee proposal is “deeply wrong, deeply flawed, and needs to be fixed.” She echoed CUNA’s call to stop, study and start over on interchange legislation. While the interchange fee legislation was ultimately passed, credit union advocacy helped Wasserman Schultz and other House colleagues modify the interchange provision to make it less harmful to credit unions, small issuers, and government benefit programs. The legislator also directly questioned merchants' claims that the savings realized from lower interchange fees would be passed on to consumers. “I smoked out the merchants' true intentions, and exposed their true intentions, and they have no intention of passing those savings along to consumers,” Wasserman Schultz said. Noting the "key role" that credit unions have played in helping the American economy get back up and running, Wasserman Schultz also praised credit unions for filling the lending gap left open by many banks. She added that credit unions must be able to provide the credit that small businesses need to start up, to hire new workers, and to expand their existing operations. “Main Street, not Wall Street, continues to lead our economic comeback,” and credit unions must be able to provide these key resources to their members, she added.


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