WASHINGTON, D.C. (September 12, 2016) – Today, the Electronic Payments Coalition (EPC) sent a letter in support of the Financial CHOICE Act’s repeal of the Durbin Amendment to Chairman Jeb Hensarling, in advance of the House Financial Services Committee meeting to debate H.R. 5983–the Financial CHOICE Act.
EPC salutes Chairman Hensarling’s forward-thinking leadership to repeal the failed Durbin Amendment as part of a reform package that aims to, in the words of Chairman Hensarling, “help grow the economy for all Americans, not just those at the top.”
“Over the last six years, the Durbin Amendment has severely impacted customers, especially lower income and younger consumers by hitting them twice—first, at the cash register by not getting promised discounts, and then by reducing their access to financial services. The amendment’s artificial price controls led to a $36 billion handout for large retailers, which they have used to pad their bottom lines instead of passing the savings onto customers as promised,” said EPC executive director Molly Wilkinson.
Several studies, including from Richmond Federal Reserve and George Mason University Professor Todd Zywicki, show consumers are not seeing savings as promised by retailers.
Understanding that retailers aren’t passing along savings, a majority of consumers support a repeal. “Customers across the country have voiced their opposition to the Durbin Amendment and they want to see an end to this failed policy,” said Wilkinson.
Another negative consequence of the Durbin Amendment is the impact on community banks and credit unions. While the amendment provides a so-called “exemption” for small banks and credit unions from the interchange fee ceiling restrictions, the law offers no such exemption from new network routing and exclusivity provisions. These provisions require issuers to add an additional, “unaffiliated” payment network to their debit cards — a process that involves substantial and recurring administrative costs and shifts choice from consumers to merchants.
In the letter, Wilkinson wrote, “Compelling evidence demonstrates that which many had predicted – regulating interchange fees has had significant negative consequences which have been disproportionally borne by those who can least afford it. Furthermore, the principle promise of the Durbin Amendment, namely that consumers would see lower checkout prices, never materialized.”
“Repealing the Durbin Amendment is the right thing to do for consumers and small community banks and credit unions, and we urge members of Congress to join in a bipartisan effort to fix this problem,” concluded Wilkinson in the letter.
EPC’s letter can be viewed at: http://www.electronicpaymentscoalition.org/resource/epcs-letter-to-rep-hensarling-on-choice-act/.
To learn more about the harmful effects of the Durbin Amendment, read the letter EPC sent to the House Financial Services Committee this summer and the letter EPC members [American Bankers Association (ABA), Consumer Bankers Association (CBA), Credit Union National Association (CUNA), Financial Services Roundtable (FSR), Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA), and National Association of Federal Credit Unions (NAFCU)] sent to Chairmen Hensarling and Neugebauer in support of repealing the Durbin Amendment.