This year saw a regulation capping the interchange card issuerswere able to earn on a debit card transaction come into effect forthe first time in history.

Passed and signed into law in 2010, the legislation mandatingthe cap, colloquially known for its chief sponsor, Sen. RichardDurbin (D-Ill.), had been included relatively late in the processof drafting the Dodd-Frank package of financial industry regulatoryreforms. Controversial from the start, the amendment mandated thatdebit card issuers of more than $10 billion in assets would have tolive under the cap while those under $10 billion, including all butthree credit unions, would be exempt from the cap.

In practice this meant that card processors needed to adopt twodifferent debit interchange schedules, which they did, but alsobrought what critics called excessive pressure on credit uniondebit interchange. A dual interchange system, critics charged,would not be sustainable over the long run and credit unions andsmaller banks would only see their debit interchange fall over timeto the same level as those institutions living under the cap.

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