Pub. 12 2022-2023 Issue 3

Message from the CEO

This story appears in the
Colorado Banker Magazine Pub 12 2022-2023 Issue 3

On September 12-13, Colorado bankers visited Washington, D.C. It was a successful and productive week in our nation’s capital, and it was good to be back to in-person meetings after the restrictions and machinations of COVID protocols. Bankers from Arizona, Montana, Utah, and Wyoming joined our Colorado bankers in D.C. The partnership made the event all the richer.

We met with representatives of the CFPB and OCC, and we received a briefing from FDIC Acting Chairman Martin Gruenberg. These meetings allowed us to engage in a positive conversation regarding CRA, CBDC, and our concerns regarding interpretations of overreach regarding overdrafts. While representatives did not provide assurances or commitments, we did provide valuable information regarding the need to be judicious in the transition period for CRA and the need to update assessment areas. We also met with staffers from both Colorado Senator’s offices and five of the seven Colorado Representative’s Offices.

The topic we primarily focused on is the Senate version of the interchange for credit card bill [SB 4674 sponsored by Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Roger Marshall (R-Kan)]. The bill expands the Durbin Interchange Bill to apply to credit cards. A companion House bill [(HB 8874 by Reps. Peter Welch (D-Vt.) and Lance Gooden (R-Texas)] was recently introduced.

If the bill becomes law, it would force credit unions and banks to contract with multiple credit card routing companies. The safety and convenience of credit cards today benefits consumers and businesses. The bills put that at risk by mandating that merchants can choose how card transactions can be routed. Instead of using the safest and most secure networks, they may select cheaper payment rails that could put data at risk and reduce revenue that financial institutions use to fund technology improvements, fraud prevention, and popular rewards programs.

Far from increasing competition in the credit card marketplace, this legislation will reduce the number of credit card issuers competing for consumers’ business, wring out the competitive differences among card products, decimate card rewards programs (e.g. airline miles) valued by American families and our tourism sector, and put the nation’s private-sector payments system under the micromanagement of the Federal Reserve Board. The bill does all this by using legislation to award private-sector contracts to a small handful of favored payment networks in order to pad the profits of the largest internet and national merchants who are raising prices on American families far more than the real rate of inflation.

Senators Richard Durbin and Roger Marshall filed an amendment that would add SB 4674 to the National Defense Authorization Act, scheduled for consideration in late October.

We urge you to take grassroots action opposing Durbin-Marshall and its companion bill in the House. Take action now: