Lobbyists are honing in today on the House Financial Services Committee, which will begin marking up legislation on the controversial Consumer Financial Protection Agency as well as derivatives regulation, reports The Hill.
Lobbyists for trade associations, including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the Business Roundtable, have been vigorously attempting to block the creation of the CFPA, which would have the ability to regulate credit cards, mortgages, payday lenders and home loans. On Tuesday, 17 trade groups opposing the legislation wrote a letter to House members.
"We remain concerned that this legislation will have significant and harmful unintended consequences for consumers, businesses and the overall economy," the groups wrote.
Politico reports that banking industry lobbyists are also eying legislation coming out of the House Financial Services Committee that would curtail credit card interchange fees -- or the amount of money that retailers owe credit card companies after credit transactions are completed.
Merchants claim that companies have unnecessarily hiked interchange fees -- card companies collected a total of $48 billion from merchants in 2008.
"Many of us are just at this time very unhappy with the major banks in this country. We've bailed them out. They've tightened the credit on everybody, individual consumers," said Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), who expressed particular concern about the impact of interchange fees during a hearing last week of the House Financial Services Committee.
The Electronic Payments Coalition, which represents payment card networks, said interchange fee legislation would ultimately hurt consumers.
"Consumers will pay more so merchants can pay less. Bottom line: Retailers don't want to pay their fair share for a service that brings them more sales and higher profits and want their customers to pick up the tab instead," the coalition said in a statement.