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Sen. Tester reiterates need to delay interchange implementation

Referring to the delay needed to explore the Fed's interchange proposal Sen. Tester added, "If we do not measure twice and cut once, we're bound to create a whole new set of problems."

Tester, along with Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), introduced legislation, S. 575, that would delay implementation of the interchange legislation by two years and would order federal regulators to study the impact that the interchange changes could have on consumers, financial institutions, and others. The legislation currently has 16 co-sponsors including Sen. Bill Nelson (D-FL).

Sen. Tester also pointed out that most federal regulators, including FDIC Chairman Sheila Bair, have publicly questioned whether small issuers would benefit from this exemption.

Tester said that while backers of the interchange legislation claim that it would help small businesses, it can actually present greater problems for them by potentially limiting their access to free checking accounts.

"This notion that some have raised that these proposed rules are a slam dunk for small businesses ... it is simply false," he said.

CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney said that "the time window for action is relatively short," and urged credit unions and their members to take part in a "Call on Congress" campaign, 877.422.3525, launched by CUNA and the LSCU that will encourage legislators to "stop, study and start" over on interchange. Credit unions are asked to utilize the call number or the resources on Save My Free Checking website. The website sends credit union staff or members directly to the CUNA Capwiz area to send a note to their lawmakers.

The LSCU has web banners, call cards and "Save my Free Checking" stickers available for credit unions. You can find them on the LSCU MBL and Interchange Resource page.