Momentum Builds On Senate Floor To Delay Interchange Rule
The stakes in the fight are enormous, with merchants paying banks and credit unions an estimated $20.5 billion a year in debit fees–$2.6 billion of it alone going to credit unions.
WASHINGTON – Supporters of a bill to delay the rule on debit interchange continued to build momentum this afternoon as Senate backers worked to collect the 60 votes they will need to attach their bill to bipartisan small business legislation.
The Federal Reserve’s proposed rule to cap interchange fees on debit, said Montana Democrat Jon Tester, one of the bill’s co-sponsors, “will further consolidate financial institutions in this country, and that’s the last thing we need.”
Tester’s remarks on the Senate floor followed those by Illinois Democrat Dick Durbin, the sponsor of the fee cap rule, who indicated he will filibuster the bill to delay the rule–meaning supporters of the delay will need 60 of the Senate’s 100 members to sign on.
Sources told the Credit Union Journal this afternoon they have tentative commitments from 52 senators, leaving them well short of what will be needed to overcome Durbin’s filibuster. So there was serious doubt the delay bid will be attached to the small business bill.
Tester, who co-sponsored a bill to delay the Fed’s rule for as long as two years while further study is conducted on the exemption for credit unions and community banks, painted a bleak picture of the rule’s impact. “These rules are going to put community banks and credit unions out of business,” he told his Senate colleagues.
The stakes in the fight are enormous, with merchants paying banks and credit unions an estimated $20.5 billion last year in debit fees–$2.6 billion of it alone going to credit unions.