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Sens. Roger Marshall, R-Tenn., Dick Durbin, D-Ill., Peter Welch, D-Vt., and J.D. Vance, R-Ohio, introduced the CUNA, League and credit union-opposed Credit Card Competition Act Wednesday. Reps. Zoe Lofgren, D-Calif., and Lance Gooden, R-Texas, introduced the House version later in the day.
CUNA, the Defense Credit Union Council, and National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions sent letters to House and Senate leadership Wednesday morning detailing the numerous negative effects the bill would have on credit unions, consumers, and small businesses.
“This bill is nothing more than a massive financial windfall for big box retailers at the expense of consumer access to safe, affordable credit,” said CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle. “This bill would extend the failed policy of the Durbin Amendment and the resulting compliance burdens, additional costs to card issuers, and massive transfer of money to big box retailers. CUNA, Leagues, and credit unions will fight against any legislative changes to the current operation of credit and debit cards, which work well for all parties involved.”
The letters detail how the bill would significantly alter an interchange system that currently works for all parties involved.
Nussle outlined these concerns in a statement released in response to the bill.
“It is reprehensible that at a time when hard-working Americans are already feeling the financial pinch from inflation, big box bullies are pushing for financial breaks that would risk both the data security and access to credit for consumers and small business owners. This bill would allow these large merchants to use the cheapest credit card processing option, with no requirement to keep consumers’ data safe or return savings back to them,” he said.
“Interchange is the cost of doing business,” points out Nussle. “Merchants like Target and Walmart reap the benefits of credit card usage with immediate payments, protection from fraud, and typically larger purchases by consumers – but don’t want to pay the cost of accepting credit cards.
“The debit card interchange limitations that Senator Durbin slipped into the Dodd-Frank Act in 2010 did not result in any consumer cost savings. Since that time, credit card fraud rates have doubled. Why would we expect a different result from this legislation? We are going to see retailers lining their pockets with money without reducing prices, leaving consumers and small business owners in the lurch.
“We pushed back to stop this legislation last session, and we will do it again. CUNA, state credit union Leagues, and credit unions oppose these changes to the current interchange system, and vow to protect the more than 135 million credit union members across the country who don’t deserve to suffer from a government mandate that will shift costs and risks to them.”
CUNA-League action alerts in the last Congress resulted in more than 30,000 messages of opposition sent to Capitol Hill. The Credit Card Competition Act did not receive a committee hearing in the last Congress, nor did it move forward attached to other legislation.