As Congress debates the financial reforms, this is an open letter to all of the members of Congress who are part of the committee who are doing the negotiations. This is very important to all of us, so PLEASE read and share.
To The Members of the Financial Reform Conference Committee:
I have worked all of my adult life as an advocate for the poor, the voiceless and the underserved. Two weeks ago, I came to Washington to meet with members of Congress about my deep concern of the unintended consequences that the Durbin Amendment would have on the poor in America. Since then I’ve heard a lot of talk but I’m increasingly concerned that the central issue, the effect on the the most vulnerable in our country is not fully appreciated by those making the decision. I want to point out what’s at stake:
Debit cards are THE entry point for millions of Americans into the American financial system. Debit cards are what keep the underserved - including minorities, immigrants, the poor, soldiers, veterans and students - from the claws of payday lenders and check cashers, from humiliating lines waiting to cash their paychecks and then more lines to pay their bills. Debit cards are giving the 80 million Americans, who would otherwise go to check cashing and payday stores, the convenience and respect that those with credit cards and bank accounts take for granted. This very system is being singled out for attack just when it should be favored over credit cards. Credit cards are out of reach for the underserved and they encourage you to borrow when you shouldn’t be. Yet the alternative is being targeted.
As the owner of a debit card company, I know first hand how being part of the American Economy can change someone’s future. However, let me be clear, this is not about my company or me: in fact this amendment will have comparatively little and possibly a positive effect on my particular business. This is about ensuring that within our desire to create financial reforms, we do not do so at the expense of the poor.