We're Anti-Durbin, But What Are We For?

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I'm just the Marketing Guy at our CU, so I'll have to admit I'm not exactly sure what these increased earnings reports from Visa and MasterCard are really saying. And while I'm all for our industry showing positive numbers, I am good enough with numbers to see that our CU is not seeing a similarly proportionate boost in net income to debit growth that Visa and MasterCard are reporting. I guess because we're just one of the Little Guys, that's really not our due, and all the more so when NCUA says "debit is extremely profitable for CUs."

"Extremely!" Imagine that. I hope not so extreme that we're gouging our members. And certainly not so extreme that we're assisting Visa and MasterCard in doing the same by defending the faith of the (pre-Durbin) status quo.

I get it that we're all in lock-step against the Durbin Amendment and the likely, if speculative, unintended consequences. Clearly, Sen. Durbin went from being a well-intentioned reformer to an entrenched zealot. But, in marshalling our troops to actively "be against" the Durbin Amendment, it would be nice to also have a "be for" position other than the status quo, which I increasingly have problems with. From a careless and irresponsible merchant posture of poor debit practices that are increasingly putting consumers and their institutions at risk to the dark side of secret agreements and disparate hidden costs, defending the status quo almost seems like marketing a "New Dark Age." Dear Member Serfs: You really don't want to know/are unable to understand anything about the debit card Issue because we really can't/won't explain it to you. So, trust us. Any pretensions of improving your financial literacy, at least in this case, are not in your best interest. And given that we're not especially creative people, your credit union recommends that we all go along with the banks and leave everything the way it is, even though that's probably not in your best interest either. But, hey-after stopping Durbin, we promise to study the banks' promised study on the issue and support whatever they, the banks, recommend. After all, they're the real creative guys here. We're just the Little Guys in the room.

Michael Dillon, VP-Marketing
South Division CU, Evergreen Park, Ill.

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