July 28, 2014 SIGN IN | REGISTER

Lobbyist Takes a Swipe at Members

Credit unions and community banks in particular have upped their presence on Capitol Hill. After a major push last week, with both major credit union trade associations flying in hundreds of their members, the Credit Union National Association is preparing for another contingent of people coming to the nation’s capital next week. CUNA has generated more than half a million contacts with Congress on interchange, according to the group’s spokesman Pat Keefe. The group also has ads running in inside-the-Beltway publications paid for by members such as the California Credit Union League and the Texas Credit Union League.

Durbin is also keeping up the pressure on credit cards and banks. On Friday, he sent a letter to CUNA and the Independent Community Bankers of America, saying he was “disappointed” that the trade groups are still opposed to the measure.

“The reality of your argument against my amendment seems to be that you are so fearful of Visa, MasterCard and their big bank allies that you do not believe you can support any regulation of the interchange system, no matter how reasonable,” Durbin wrote. “You are afraid to take what you perceive to be the risk that these giant corporations might punish you for disagreeing with them.”

Durbin isn’t stopping there.

He is chairing a hearing Wednesday on interchange fees as part of the Appropriations Subcommittee on Financial Services and General Government. The decision to hold the hearing follows the release of a Treasury Department report that found reforming the interchange system could save taxpayers nearly $39 million a year.

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