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CUs Mull Suit Challenging Interchange Amendment

WASHINGTON-CUNA and NAFCU are exploring whether to sign on to a suit filed by Twin Cities bank TCF Financial challenging the constitutionality of the new interchange amendment capping fees on debit card transactions.

TCF, an $18-billion bank, asked a federal court to restrain the Federal Reserve from enforcing the terms of the so-called Durbin amendment, which it says was enacted under the Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Act without any hearings, and which TCF claims discriminates between big banks and CUs and those under $10 billion who would not be affected by the price-setting.

The Durbin amendment established the Fed as the effective regulator of interchange paid on debit cards and directs it to cut fees if they are found to be exorbitant or unfair.

"We believe these provisions violate our Constitutional rights on three separate grounds: the regulations take our property without just compensation and without due process of law; and they also deny us equal protection under the law," TCF Financial CEO William Cooper said. "The statute makes no more sense than regulating the price of a Burger King hamburger solely to the costs of the meat and the bun. To stay in business, Burger King has to sell burgers at prices that cover more than those costs; it also has to cover costs such as paying an employee to make the hamburger and another employee to serve it, the cost of the building and maintenance, as well as the costs incurred to advertise and promote the product.

"Under the Durbin Amendment, TCF only gets to recover the cost of the bun," he said.


CUNA Pours New Funds Into MO Senate Campaign

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo.-CUNA paid $152,500 for a series of independent radio ads on behalf of Republican Rep. Roy Blunt, who is running against Democrat Robin Carnahan to represent the state in the U.S. Senate.

CUNA also spent $152,535 on glossy, full-color mailings for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a four-term Democrat and one of the co-sponsors of the member business loan bill, who is trailing Republican challenger Sharron Angle. CUNA also spent $143,046 on independent television ads to tout Stephanie Herseth Sandlin, a four-term member of the House who is in a tight race in South Dakota; and another $117,000 on radio ads pushing Colorado Republican state Rep. Cory Gardner in his bid to unseat freshman Democrat Betsy Markey.

CUNA also reported it spent $17,420 on special direct mailings on behalf of Democratic Rep. Kurt Schrader, following the $34,380 special campaign expenditure it made last week to help save the freshman House member, who is trailing his Republican opponent in the race for the state's Fifth Congressional District.


Robins 'Pays it Forward' In Supermarket Giveaway

MACON, Ga.-Robins FCU is taking the "Pay It Forward" concept of giving to strangers a bit further by stopping random shoppers and paying for their groceries. The CU said it plans to spend thousands of dollars on its own version of the popular Pay it Forward campaign, paying for groceries, or even prescription medicines. The CU is picking random spots to give back and goes out two to three times a week surprising people at places such as gas stations, coffee shops, pharmacies and grocery stores in more than a dozen counties throughout central Georgia.

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