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Maine reps urge interchange caution
WASHINGTON (11/3/10)--Reps. Mike Michaud and Chellie Pingree, both Democrats representing Maine, urged Federal Reserve (Fed) Chairman Ben Bernanke to “recognize” the protections for credit unions that were built into the Dodd-Frank Act as the Fed works to implement new interchange regulations. The interchange provisions require the Fed to set interchange fees paid by merchants. “While the law is clear that small issuers with $10 billion in assets or below are exempt from the debit interchange transaction regulations, they are not exempt from the impact that regulations on institutions above $10 billion in assets will have on small issuers,” the representatives said in a joint letter to Bernanke. The legislators also encouraged the Fed to ensure that merchants would not be given the ability to refuse transactions from consumers holding cards from specific card issuers. The letter also referenced a Credit Union National Association study which found that up to 67% of credit unions “would lose money on their debit card programs” if the interchange regulations reduced interchange-related revenues by 40%. The legislators said that it is “imperative” that the government’s interchange actions “do not inadvertently hurt the institutions that did not contribute to the financial crisis.”


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