Our nation’s credit unions are fundamental to the success of the communities and small businesses that built our country and made it the greatest in the world.
And if those credit unions are forced out of business, the families and small businesses that rely on them will end up paying the price.
That’s why I took sides in the debate over whether the government should impose a limit on debit card swipe fees. I just don’t believe the government should set prices for small businesses.
I also am a firm believer in accountability–especially for our government and for big industries that impact our economy. That’s why I voted against bailing out Wall Street and for ending “too big to fail.”
And it’s why I opposed a plan that allowed the government to price fix debit card swipe fees. I had serious concerns about its unintended consequences for Montana and other rural states.
The proposed swipe fee limit was below the cost of doing business for too many credit unions, which would have meant that the government was forcing them to lose money on debit card transactions.
Credit unions would have to start charging fees, limiting purchases, getting rid of free checking or stop offering debit cards altogether.
And if credit unions could not afford to offer debit cards, they would not have been able to compete against big national banks–forcing them out of business.
That’s why I joined with my friend, Sen. Bob Corker, a Republican from Tennessee, to introduce a simple plan to stop and study the consequences of this controversial price-fixing plan. We wanted to make sure the proposal was fair to consumers, small businesses and credit unions.Our bill garnered the support of the majority of the Senate. Unfortunately, a majority wasn’t quite enough.
When the Federal Reserve issued its final rule on debit interchange fees in July, it was clear that it had heard the concerns. The Fed raised the price cap and included a portion of the cost of fighting fraud and processing transactions.
Is the Fed’s final rule good enough? Not quite, in my opinion. But working together, we made improvements. And working together in the future, we’ll keep at it in order to strengthen rural America’s small businesses and the credit unions they need for success.