WASHINGTON (6/7/10)—A key White House official met with the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Friday to hear the credit union position on pending legislation that would allow the government to set interchange fees. CUNA adamantly opposes the adoption of the interchange provision in a final regulatory reform bill, which is currently being worked out as the House and Senate rectify their separate versions of reforms. In the meeting CUNA President/CEO Dan Mica emphasized that the interchange provisions are a most serious threat facing credit unions. He underscored the following points:
* The U.S. Congress has not thoroughly studied the impact of the interchange amendment; * The provision will affect small issuers disproportionately; and * Consumers will be the big losers by incurring new fees if the interchange provision becomes law.
The White House meeting occurred just three days after CUNA engaged in a similar session with Assistant U.S. Treasury Secretary for Financial Institutions Michael Barr. And both meetings occurred against a backdrop of an all-out grassroots effort by CUNA, the leagues and credit unions to convince federal lawmakers to stand in opposition to interchange language being included in a final regulatory reform bill. As of Friday, more than 200,000 had responded to CUNA’s call for grassroots interchange advocacy and made contact, via email and phone calls, on Capitol Hill on the issue. CUNA and the leagues are also sponsoring a national fly-in this week, asking credit union advocates to make personal visits with their lawmakers in Washington, D.C. on the issues involved.