Margin calls

Economic Times | February 15, 2013

Clamping down on payday loans would make more sense if regulators had not made it harder for retail banks to serve low-income Americans. The Durbin amendment—passed as part of the Dodd-Frank act in July 2010—capped interchange fees, the commission that merchants pay, on debit cards. One year earlier Congress passed the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure Act (Credit CARD Act), which reduced interest-rate increases and late fees on credit cards. The CFPB is also looking at overdraft fees. Add in persistently low interest rates, which have eaten into banks’ net interest margins, and the economics of banking the poor is far less attractive than it was.

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