April 04, 2011

Court won't block Durbin amendment

April 5, 2011 – NAFCU is urging credit unions and their members to redouble efforts to win a delay from Congress in the Federal Reserve's proposed debit interchange rule now that a U.S. district court judge has denied a request for preliminary injunction of the underlying law.

While denying injunctive relief, the judge also declined to grant the government's motion to dismiss. Instead, he agreed only to take the federal government's request for dismissal under advisement.

While the suit may (or may not) stayalive until a rule is completed, even that leaves very little time for a legal challenge to proceed as the statutory implementation deadline – July 21 – draws near.

NAFCU, with several other financial trades, filed an amicus brief supporting the plaintiff in the suit, TCF National Bank. The suit, filed last October in the U.S. District Court ofSouth Dakota, Southern Division, challenged the Durbin amendment to the Dodd-Frank Act as well as the Fed's proposed rule to implement it. The challenge to Dodd-Frank failed, leaving the question of the Fed rule pending, for now.

"We are disappointed by the partial ruling and will continue to pursue any legal avenue to stop the rule on behalf of our members," said Jay Morris, NAFCU's senior vice president of marketing and communications.

With that in mind, NAFCU is asking its members to keep contacting their lawmakers in the House and Senate and urge their support and cosponsorship of H.R. 1081, which would set a one-year delay of the Fed rule, and S. 575, which would set a two-year delay; both would require a study of the rule's impact on stakeholders.

Make no mistake as to the potential impact of contacts on members of Congress: As of Monday, more than 11,000 letters to lawmakers had been generated from the credit union community alone via, a site created to facilitate contacts by credit union members.

Credit union members should keep using to make their contacts; credit unions should send their messages via Contact Congress. To make contacts by phone, dial the U.S. Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121.

In contacting senators, credit unions should also press support for Senate amendment No. 267, which contains the language of S. 575, to a pending small business bill (S. 493).