Lawmakers Seeking Support for Letter Against Interchange Amendment
Reps. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) and Kenny Marchant (R-Texas) are asking colleagues to sign a letter to House members of the conference committee on regulatory overhaul urging them to push for the removal of Senate-passed amendment giving the Federal Reserve the power to regulate interchange fees.
The amendment would "devastate credit unions and community banks, while providing no discernable benefits for consumers," the lawmakers wrote.
"We must keep America's debit- and credit card-using consumers foremost in our mind and legislate only with our eyes wide open, fully knowledgeable of all its impacts. In this instance, there is far too much uncertainty that this sweeping measure will harm both consumers and the small financial institutions that help drive our economic recovery," they added.
The interchange amendment, which is in the Senate version of the bill but not the one passed by the House, 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 offer additional discounts for using a certain type of card or cash.
The conference committee is supposed to begin meeting on Thursday, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) is going to chair the committee.