NAFCU President/CEO Fred Becker asked President Obama, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and NCUA Chairman Debbie Matz to "express any concerns you may have," about the amendment that would give the Fed the power to regulate interchange fees.
Becker wrote the three officials that the amendment, which is in the Senate-passed version of the regulatory overhaul bill, "will create significant new problems for all financial institutions, especially credit unions."
Becker sent separate letters to Obama, Bernanke and Matz, and added that "any reduction in interchange fee income will ultimately harm our member-owners."
The amendment authorizes the Federal Reserve to ensure that debit card fees are "reasonable and proportional," in relation to processing costs. It excludes credit unions and community banks with assets of less than $10 billion. It also allows merchants to set a minimum or maximum amount for each transaction and let them offer additional discounts for using a certain type of card or cash.
Becker wrote that the $10 billion threshold won't protect small financial institutions because it will remove the equal footing that all card issuers currently have with merchants.
The Obama administration hasn't weighed in on the amendment, which was sponsored by Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin (D-Ill.).
CUNA and NAFCU will be bringing their members to Washington, D.C. next week to lobby members of the House-Senate conference committee to remove the amendment from the final bill.