Retailers and CUs Differ on Impact of Interchange Amendment
A group of retailers today sent lawmakers a flyer contending that 99.96% of credit unions wouldn't be affected by an amendment in the regulatory overhaul giving the Federal Reserve the power to regulate interchange fees.
Reform Swipe Fees Now, which is a project of the Retail Industry Leaders, said they were sending the flyer to "set the record straight," in light of comments by credit union lobbyists.
CUNA President/CEO Dan Mica issued a statement noting that the exemption-or carve out-for credit unions won't work because the higher rates that the Fed sets for larger card issuers will eventually be the rate for all issuers.
The war of words comes on the eve of visits to Washington, D.C. by credit union executives and representatives of retailers as a House-Senate conference committee reconcile the different version of the financial overhaul bills passed by the House and Senate.
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 let them offer additional discounts for using a certain type of card or cash.