WASHINGTON (5/14/08)—Allowing bureaucrats to set credit card interchange fees would harm consumers and disrupt a competitive balance in the financial services industry, the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) told lawmakers in a full-page open letter ad Tuesday. The ad, featured in Politico, a Washington-based daily political journal, was the latest weapon added to CUNA’s fight against a House bill that proposes government intervention in the setting of interchange fees. The letter was backed by CUNA, the National Association of Federal Credit Unions, community banks, state banking associations and companies that make up the Electronic Payments Coalition. The letter warns lawmakers that H.R. 5546, The Credit Card Fair Fee Act, threatens to shift the cost of doing business onto the shoulders of consumers. “American consumers would ultimately feel the most pain from price control legislation. As the market would likely shrink to a handful of larger institutions that could continue to offer card products in a price-controlled environment, consumer will have fewer payment options and reduced access to affordable debit and credit cards,” says the letter address to Members of Congress. Furthermore, the ad notes, such a plan would “harm the competitive balance in the financial services industry” and have a “disproportionate effect on smaller financial institutions…” “These institutions depend on interchange revenue to be able to provide a unique and localized brand of customer or member service.” CUNA also has been actively opposing government intervention in interchange fees in the House and the Senate. CUNA worked closely with the Electronic Payments Coalition on testimony to oppose the House bill before the House Judiciary Committee this week. Also, CUNA participated in a Senate Judiciary Committee briefing on the issue. CUNA has also advised credit union representatives engaging in Hike the Hill visits to their federal lawmakers to reiterate their opposition to the House plan.