WASHINGTON (6/19/08)—Credit union officials and bankers will join forces today to plead their case on Capitol Hill against government interference in interchange fees. The Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and banking organizations, who comprise the Financial Services Roundtable, will participate in more than 30 meetings with federal legislators and their staff. CUNA, along with banks and thrifts, strongly oppose proposed legislation that would, in part, set up a government tribunal as mediator in disputes that could occur relating to the interchange fees charged based on consumer use of credit and debit cards. Scheduled to represent credit unions at the “fly-in” meetings are:
* Mike Ligon, CFO, Belvoir FCU, Woodbridge, Va.; * John Harwell, Apple FCU, Fairfax, Va.; * James H. Norris III, CEO, AFL-CIO Employees FCU, Washington, D.C.; and * Susan Enis, CEO, U.S. Senate FCU, Washington, D.C.
CUNA strongly opposes any statutory and rulemaking changes, including those in the Credit Card Fair Fee Act introduced in both U.S. House (H.R. 5546) and Senate (S. 3086), that would regulate interchange fees. CUNA believes such action would adversely affect consumer options, competition and technological innovation. Interchange revenue enables a credit union to offer credit cards or debit cards by covering the costs and risks the credit union incurs in the card system, including the risks of consumer nonpayment and fraud. Credit unions believe the interchange rates represent a balance of factors for both sides: the merchants and the consumers’ card-issuing institutions and that the balance of interchange brings stability and is best determined by the marketplace.