Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) said that the bill he introduced today to delay the implementation of the Fed’s interchange rule is “going to help small banks, credit unions and consumers.”
He told reporters at a conference that it would help small financial institutions who are the lifeblood of many rural communities in places like his home state of Montana.
In response to a question from Credit Union Times about the difficulties of passing the bill, he said he had heard from several senators who supported the amendment who are having second thoughts. He declined to state the likelihood of getting the 60 votes needed to break a likely filibuster.
The bill would delay implementation for two years and mandate a study by the Fed, the NCUA, the FDIC, and the Comptroller of the Currency on interchange fees.
When Congress passed the financial overhaul bill last year it included an amendment by Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin (D-Ill.) to give the Fed the power to regulate debit interchange fees.
Durbin said in a statement that “Every month we delay limiting the amount banks and credit card companies charge merchants means another $1.3 billion bailout for Visa, MasterCard and their big bank allies. The $13 trillion banking industry doesn’t need another handout–especially one paid for by small business and American consumers.”
The Fed has issued a draft rule, and a final rule must be approved by April 21 and in effect by July 21.