Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin took to the Senate floor again to reiterate the need for interchange reform and said small banks and credit unions are acting more like large financial institutions in opposing his efforts.
He said in a speech Thursday that the smaller financial institutions are “becoming part of big banking,’’ as a result of their efforts in the interchange fight and said “it’s not healthy for them and not healthy for the economy.’’
He cited a letter that the Merchants Payment Coalition sent to lawmakers earlier this week promising that its members wouldn’t discriminate against customers using debit cards from small issuers.
The community bankers and credit unions have cited the possibility of being disadvantaged as a result of what will likely be a two-tiered fee structure.
Durbin, who wrote the amendment to the financial reform bill that mandated that the Fed write a rule regulating interchange fees, challenged MasterCard and Visa to “step up to the plate’’ and make the same promise of nondiscrimination,.
The Federal Reserve has issued a proposed rule on interchange that is supposed to take effect in July but hasn’t issued a final rule.
Bills have been introduced in the House and Senate that would delay the implementation of the rule and mandate that financial regulators, including the NCUA, study the issue.