Bill to impose routing restrictions would harm card rewards, access to credit

Washington, D.C. (June 7, 2023) — Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA) President and CEO Rebeca Romero Rainey issued the following statement on today’s introduction of the Credit Card Competition Act (S. 1838), which would impose routing restrictions on credit card transactions.

“ICBA and the nation’s community banks strongly oppose the introduction of controversial legislation from Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), J.D. Vance (R-Ohio) and Peter Welch (D-Vt.) to create new credit card routing mandates, which would eliminate funding for popular credit cards rewards programs, reduce access to credit, and weaken cybersecurity protections.

“Applying routing restrictions to credit card transactions would expand the Durbin Amendment’s government-orchestrated transfer of income from consumers to the nation’s largest retailers, such as Amazon and Walmart. According to Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond data, large retail merchants have pocketed $106 billion in interchange fees funneled to them by the Durbin Amendment—violating their pledge to pass the windfall to consumers.

“This anti-consumer government intervention would also end popular credit card rewards programs by preventing card companies from funding them, as the Durbin Amendment did to debit card rewards programs. ICBA polling conducted by Morning Consult last year indicates consumers oppose the policy change, with 61% of Americans saying consumers would not benefit from overhauling the card networks, including a bipartisan majority of Democrats (52%), independents (67%), and Republicans (65%).

“And while the bill’s expanded mandates are designed to apply to banks with over $100 billion in assets, the measure would require all banks—including Main Street community banks—to subsidize the costly and burdensome changes it would impose on the payments system. This refutes the sponsors’ claims that their plan would help community banks and risks driving small issuers to exit the credit card business altogether — limiting access in local communities.

“Further, expanding the Durbin Amendment would hand over the security of the nation’s credit card system to merchants — which are not required to meet the same rigorous data security standards, fair lending, and privacy laws that apply to highly regulated community banks.

“We call on every member of Congress to join us in opposing this anti-consumer legislation.”

About ICBA

The Independent Community Bankers of America® creates and promotes an environment where community banks flourish. ICBA is dedicated exclusively to representing the interests of the community banking industry and its membership through effective advocacy, best-in-class education, and high-quality products and services.

With nearly 50,000 locations nationwide, community banks constitute roughly 99 percent of all banks, employ nearly 700,000 Americans and are the only physical banking presence in one in three U.S. counties. Holding nearly $5.9 trillion in assets, over $4.9 trillion in deposits, and more than $3.5 trillion in loans to consumers, small businesses and the agricultural community, community banks channel local deposits into the Main Streets and neighborhoods they serve, spurring job creation, fostering innovation and fueling their customers’ dreams in communities throughout America. For more information, visit ICBA’s website at