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Inside Washington (06/21/2010)
* WASHINGTON (6/22/10)--Card industry representatives have criticized a Washington hearing about interchange fees because they said it gave their side little opportunity to move forward with its position. On June 15, the Senate Appropriations Committee hearing featured payment industry witness Bruce Sullivan, Visa Inc.’s vice president and head of government services. Sullivan, the lone witness, seemed “ill-prepared” to answer Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.)’s questions about consumer interchange and declined comment on several points, said American Banker (June 21). The Electronic Payments Coalition also said the forum was an inappropriate substitute for an official Senate hearing. Durbin proposed the interchange amendment. The Credit Union National Association and credit unions oppose the amendment because they said it would hinder credit unions’ ability to offer card products and services. The House has submitted a substitute proposal on interchange to be considered for the final regulatory reform bill (SEE RELATED: New interchange language, same concerns, says CUNA) ... * WASHINGTON (6/22/10)--Conferees spent last week making some significant changes to the regulatory reform bill--including scaling back a capital provision and overhauling the deposit insurance system--but more lies ahead, said American Banker (June 21). There is just one week left for conferees to work on key parts of the legislation, including risk retention, consumer protection, derivatives oversight and interchange fees. Some of the tougher subjects are slated to be taken up today, including interchange--which the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) and many credit unions oppose. CUNA has said the legislation would hinder credit unions’ ability to offer card products and services. Also this week, conferees are scheduled to tackle a derivatives provision, which would require banks to spin off their derivatives operations. Sen. Blanche Lincoln (R-Ark.), a conferee and the provision’s author, appears to determined to keep the provision a part of the final bill ... * WASHINGTON (6/22/10)--Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC) Chairman Sheila Bair said Friday that policymakers should address the government’s role with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac after the regulatory reform bill is complete. Bair said government involvement in mortgage finance is justified, but said there must be clarification regarding the enterprises’ governmental functions and which functions are subject to “discipline of the marketplace” (American Banker June 21). Fannie and Freddie were placed into conservatorship by the government in September 2008 ...


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