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News Now

Washington
CUNA again pushes interchange ahead of conf. committee debate
WASHINGTON (6/21/10)--With the financial regulatory reform conference committee set to discuss interchange fees on Tuesday, members of credit union leagues nationwide will make a final push today to urge their legislators to remove interchange language from the final bill. As currently written, the financial regulatory reform bill would, among other things, allow the federal government to impose controls on the fees paid to use electronic payment networks. The interchange provisions as written would hurt consumers by driving up debit card fees, with no compensatory advantages to consumers, the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) has said. CUNA President/CEO Dan Mica said that CUNA’s ultimate goal is “the elimination of the entire interchange amendment.” Credit union backers also continue to contact their representatives, with the number of phone calls and emails to D.C.-based legislators totaling over 600,000 as of last Friday. Overall, the efforts of CUNA and credit union backers have seen interchange opposition gain some traction. Over 130 members of the House last week came out publicly to oppose Sen. Richard Durbin’s (D-Ill.) legislation. The interchange opposition has also received significant coverage in both local and national media outlets, and hip hop entrepreneur Russell Simmons, who also owns a debit-card service for the under-banked, has urged Congress not to make well-intentioned financial reforms “at the expense of the poor.” Simmons’ editorial appeared in The Huffington Post late last week.(See related story in News Now's System section, "Russell Simmons: Interchange amendment hurts 'underserved.'") The bicameral conference committee is expected to continue through the end of this month, and legislators have said that the final version of the negotiated financial reform bill would make its way to President Barack Obama’s desk in early July.


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