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ICBA Statement on Interchange Legislation

Washington, DC (March 7, 2008)Camden R. Fine, president and CEO of the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA), issued the following statement on the Credit Card Fair Fee Act (H.R. 5546):

“The Independent Community Bankers of America continues to support a credit card payment system that permits negotiated interchange rates. Without negotiated rates, community banks could not offer the wide variety of card products that include rewards and other valuable features currently available to their customers. Unfortunately, this legislation would create a government rate-setting board that would substitute for market forces, making it increasingly difficult for community banks to meet the needs of their customers.

“The credit and debit card interchange system has helped community banks and the communities they serve thrive, affording them business opportunities that would not be available if there were no interchange system. Because community banks can provide credit and debit card services to merchants, small business customers pay competitive fees, can accept credit or debit cards at the point of sale with an assurance of a consistent payment experience, and are protected against fraud.

“In the long-run, the over-regulation prescribed by this measure will cause consumers to suffer because of a credit card marketplace with limited options and without the convenience we have today.   As such, we strongly oppose this legislation.”