Agreement Reached On Interchange

Assistant Senate Majority Leader Dick Durbin (D-IL) and key conferees have reached an agreement on the Wall Street reform bill, regarding his amendment regulating interchange fees, NACS reported.

The agreement makes minor, clarifying changes to the language, which passed the Senate 64 to 33 on May 13, and responds to concerns raised by state governments regarding their use of prepaid and debit cards distribution of government benefits.

“NACS is supporting this deal,” said NACS Senior Vice President of Government Relations Lyle Beckwith. “Please contact your elected officials and urge them to support the deal as well – the banks are putting enormous pressure on Congress to reject these provisions.”

“I’m pleased that we were able to reach an agreement which makes minor changes to strengthen consumer protections and bring competition to a market where there is none,” Sen. Durbin said. “Most importantly, we’ve addressed the concerns of states regarding their ability to provide services to the unemployed and the concerns of small financial firms regarding their ability to provide services to the unbanked. We’ve exempted states from interchange regulations and have included protections to ensure those who can least afford it are protected from unnecessary fees. These changes make a strong amendment stronger and I urge all conferees to support them.”

Under the agreement, the House plans to offer the new language to the Senate during the conference negotiations on the Wall Street reform package as early as today. It is expected to be debated and eventually accepted by the conference committee, subject to ratification by the Committee Chairmen, and become the final language regarding interchange fees. The conference committee hopes to finish its work on the bill this week and the House and Senate are expected to pass the final legislation before July 4.

“The banks will howl and still try to water down and strip this compromise out,” said Beckwith. “We must have grassroots support for this deal and opposition to any further amendments to it.” He added, “I urge you to have your colleagues call their elected officials directly by dialing the Capitol Switchboard at (202) 224-3121.”

The conference committee is scheduled to begin debate today at 11:00 a.m. EDT.




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