The P.A.

A weekly address from Patrick Adams,
President of St. Louis Community Credit Union

Our Legislators Won’t Be Confused With A Flock Of Sparrows

On June 28th, 2010, posted in: Uncategorized by

I remain intrigued by the symbiotic dance that occurs by and between more sparrows than you can count as they dance across the landscape with speed, grace and fluidity.  You’ve seen them – that almost black cloud moving across the blue sky; just high enough to not get in the way, but low enough to strike a level of amazement for those who witness such a phenomenon.  Within millimeters of one another they hustle to their next stop, yet they never run into one another.  Nothing seems to disrupt their harmony.

These little creatures dart, dash and maintain perfect choreography while moving about at a speed of Mach VI.  Their grace, beauty and coordination beg the question: Why don’t our little feathered friends crash, run amuck of one another, and end up on the cement in a tangled ball of sparrow mishap?

It is rather obvious that whatever radar they have in those tiny sparrow brains cannot be found in the adult human being.  We run into one another all the time – literally and figuratively.  On the streets in our cars; on the streets on foot; on the dance floor; even when we’re walking in a mall or airport terminal we have to employ a silly, convoluted dance step at the last second to avoid a head-on crash.  What’s up with us?  And in Washington D.C., well, let’s just say that our legislators are like the crazy dude in the mosh pit who is flailing about uncontrollably messing it up for everyone else.

On the moving sidewalks of our favorite airport, we’ll stand left when it clearly states to stand right and, as a result, we bring a multitude of hurried travelers to a screeching halt trying to figure out which person in the process has failed the plan of action.  At times, we humans are a mess.  And given enough opportunity, you’re likely to see one or more of us bring progress to an abrupt stubbing of our collective toe.  Thus, the analogy and saga of Senator Richard Durbin and the infamous interchange amendment.

We pick up the story with our elected officials setting out to right the wrongs of Wall Street.  Financial reform of those who played a large role in the economic tsunami needed to be dealt with in a way that would mitigate such an occurrence from ever repeating itself.  And one of the results – Durbin’s interchange amendment – will significantly hurt credit unions (who couldn’t be farther from Wall Street).  What the heck?  Far from the beauty and grace of the dance of the sparrows, it appears as though our legislators’ vote in favor of this misplaced amendment emulated the reckless confusion found in the aforementioned mosh pit.

I am disappointed for the consumer.  I am worried for the folks on Main Street.  Good, hard-working Americans who are just getting by will suddenly be subjected to increased banking costs.  “The Death of Free Checking” is the prevailing discussion among banking institutions, both big and small.  Sadly, credit unions will probably follow suit, but we’ll hold off as long as we can.

Think for just a second.  Over the past 24 months, how many times did you hear that the inherent danger to our financial system was the result of the interchange rate retailers pay on debit card transactions to MasterCard and Visa?  Please send me the news articles that identified the dire need to fix the interchange issue.  I never saw one.

See what happens?  A flock of sparrows is like poetry in motion.  A group of humans just get in each others’ way.

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