Perlmutter: ‘Your Words will carry a lot of weight’

Three options for the interchange amendment.

March 2, 2011

Interchange is key to the operating revenues for many of you, said Rep. Ed Perlmutter, a member of the House Financial Services Committee, during Tuesday’s General Session.

Congress had to address certain parts of the Dodd-Frank Act (the financial reform legislation), Perlmutter said. But the Durbin debit interchange amendment was added by the Senate toward the end of the legislative process, and the way it was handled was “unreasonable, unworkable, and unfair.”

Perlmutter reminded credit unions that there are two sides to the interchange battle—“merchants do have a story to tell.” Many small businesses such as gas station owners say their margins are getting tighter and tighter, he noted.

But when credit unions meet with representatives, “your words will carry a lot of weight,” he said, adding he sees these options for the interchange amendment:

  • Repealing the amendment—“difficult since it is law”;
  • Revising the formula for interchange fees; and
  • Delaying the implementation of the amendment.

Perhaps most palatable in Perlmutter’s view is a delay and then a review of the formula.

“I intend to advance your argument as best I can,” he said. “Spread the word. Hopefully we can make some changes.”