---- — The press is a great forum to bring critical issues impacting the residents of our communities to light. I have heard and taken part in many water cooler discussions regarding issues that have gained their visibility with your help. For that I thank you and offer the following.
I represent the 14,000 members of M-C Federal Credit Union who live, work and are a vital part of Columbia, Montour Northumberland, Snyder and Union counties. It is in their interest and that of our neighbors that we need to unite and address U.S. Sen. Richard Durbin's amendment (No. 3989) that was forced into the Financial Reform Bill (S.3217). This amendment, offered without debate, will harm consumers and our ability to provide critical financial services to our members, other credit union members and community banks in our area. The focus of the Financial Reform Bill was to address the bank failures and high-risk activities that led to the worst economic crisis in many of our lifetimes.
The debit card is the new standard of convenience for consumers in this age of automated financial transactions, where fraud protection and data security are in constant focus. This service is not free, and is supported in part by interchange revenue, an important part of our revenue stream. The amendment empowers the government with control on the amounts that merchants pay to support the system that allows you to use your card at their establishment. Everyone needs to understand that the credit union assumes all of the risk on a debit card transaction.
So who wins and who loses? The large box retailer will pay less; they win. The consumer will lose; if fees do not cover the costs, then programs will be discontinued or other services that are free today will become fee-based. You can be heard by letting your congressman know the importance of removing the interchange amendment language from the final Financial Services Reform bill. Call toll free. The number is 1-877-223-5275.
Jim Barbarich, Danville
n Jim Barbarich is president & CEO of M-C Federal Credit Union in Danville.