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Credit unions digging in to defeat interchange

As credit unions in Alabama and Florida begin to speak with their federal lawmakers about interchange legislation, the amendment's author wrote a letter to Visa and Mastercard warning them to not adjust their business to hurt smaller banks and credit unions. Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) did not mince words in the letter sent Thursday.

“If your companies were to coordinate such punitive actions in the same way that you appear to have coordinated your messaging tactics, serious concerns would be raised that you are engaging in an unlawful restraint of trade,” Durbin wrote in the letter that was sent to the CEOs of Visa and MasterCard.

Bloomberg news is reporting that Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), nominated to participate in the talks, said she expects changes in Durbin’s proposal, without elaborating.

Credit unions are mobilizing to talk with their lawmakers in their respective districts during the Memorial Day break and then on Capitol Hill June 8-9. Any credit union interested in going is urged to call the LSCU and sign up for the trip. Credit unions are also asked to have their staff, board and members call their lawmakers through a special toll free number through CUNA. Beginning Friday morning at 9am, credit unions can call 877.223.5275. The number will automatically get the caller in touch with their lawmaker. The more calls to Senate and House offices, the more the federal lawmakers will realize the impact on credit union members. Click here for a full resource page on interchange fees, including background material, lobby posters and a phone script.