Bipartisan letter questions impact of Fed interchange proposal

The Federal Reserve’s debit interchange proposal could undermine recent progress in bringing low- and moderate-income (LMI) consumers into the financial services system, a bipartisan group of representatives wrote Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell this week. The letter comes after strong credit union opposition to the proposal, and a credit union-backed bill was introduced this week to delay the rule until its implementation can be studied.

“The Regulation II price cap proposal threatens to undo the important work that banks, credit unions, and community groups have undertaken to expand access to safe and affordable Bank On-certified accounts,” the legislators wrote, referring to a credit union-supported account certification standard for low or zero-fee accounts must include “online bill pay, allow accountholders to receive payments and income securely, and have no overdraft fees.”

The lawmakers thanked the Fed for extending the proposal’s comment period to May 12, but urged it “to ensure that the final rule does not unintentionally impact low-and moderate-income consumers negatively.”

America’s Credit Unions strongly opposes the proposal, and wrote to the House Financial Services Committee and Senate Banking Committee this week for hearings with Powell.

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