The Federal Reserve would still have the power to regulate interchange fees though credit unions and banks with assets of $10 billion or less would be exempt and retailers would be expressly forbidden from discriminating among card types, according to a proposal submitted by House members of the conference committee on financial reform overhaul.
The proposal, which the full conference committee is scheduled to consider tomorrow, contains most of the original amendment that was passed by the Senate when it passed the financial overhaul bill last month. That amendment passed 64-33. There was no language on interchange in the bill passed by the House last December.
However, the House proposal adds an exemption for government programs that use debit cards. It also exempts network fees from Fed regulation and gives the Fed leeway to adjust fees if banks or credit unions can make the case that they are needed to fund fraud prevention efforts.
NAFCU Executive Vice President B. Dan Berger said his group opposed the proposal and CUNA hasn't issued a comment on it.
Credit unions and banks had launched a strong lobbying effort to get the amendment removed by the conference committee and the retailers and their allies had lobbied equally aggressively to keep it in.