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Michigan Credit Union League Home » Information Services » Publications » News Articles  

Durbin Vows to Fight Hard to Save Interchange Amendment   (Misc News: March 29, 2011)

U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., isn't backing down from the fight over debit interchange.

During a conference call organized by supporters, he lashed out at banks, saying they were using credit unions and small banks as their spokespersons on the issue because the big banks "aren't the most popular folks."

It's worth noting that while Durbin criticized the financial institutions industry for hiding behind small operators, big retailers are doing the same thing.

Also taking part in the conference call, CU Times quoted Art Potash, CEO of Potash Brothers Market, a three-store grocery chain in Illinois, who cited historical trends showing that retailers typically pass along cost savings when their costs go down. Click here to read the Times story.

He said that whenever there have been innovations and cost savings, the profit margins of stores such as his remained constant, which means that consumers usually see lower prices.

Credit Union Times reported that Durbin pointed out that all but three credit unions and about 100 small banks would be exempt from the provisions. Many observers, including Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke and FDIC Chair Sheila Bair have openly questioned whether those provisions would work. 

Separately, Bernanke told bankers this week that the Fed will do everything it can to ensure that the exemption is meaningful, Credit Union Journal reported.

Durbin said the big banks are waging one of the most expensive lobbying efforts ever in an effort to get interchange overturned. Durbin's amendment restricting interchange fees was slipped into the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act last July. 

The senator said that he will filibuster in the Senate forcing his opponents to garner 60 votes - the same number he needed to get the measure passed - in an effort to block efforts to delay its implementation.


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