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The Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond published the report “Debit Card Interchange Fee Regulation: Some Assessments and Considerations” in the third quarter 2012 issue of Economic Quarterly. The report analyzes the debit card interchange fee regulation introduced by the Durbin amendment and its first-year impact on different players in the debit card market. The report specifically notes the unintended consequences of the Durbin amendment on small-ticket sales and rising bank fees.
The survey found that 72 percent of credit union checking accounts remain free and 39 percent of bank checking accounts remain free. The article notes that one reason for the difference may be that most credit unions aren’t subject to the Durbin amendment, which has resulted in a loss of revenue for many institutions. The author explains that checking account fees have been used as a way to make up for those revenue losses.
Earlier this week, the National Retail Federation distributed a false and misleading statement to the press. Attached please find the correct information, along with links to the accompanying documentation to prove their validity.
On November 9, 2012, U.S. District Court Judge Gleeson (New York, Eastern District) granted Preliminary Approval of the merchant interchange settlement. In the following interview, Robert Stolebarger, partner at Bryan Cave LLP and antitrust counsel for the Electronic Payments Coalition, addresses some of the most commonly asked questions about this ruling and what it means.
The Honorable Judge John Gleeson of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York granted preliminary approval of the landmark settlement agreement between retailers, payment networks and nine major card issuers, over merchant interchange fees. The settlement was originally announced on July 13th after several years of litigation. The preliminary approval of this historic settlement will almost immediately give retailers the many benefits they demanded. Sixty days from November 9, 2012, the card networks will implement rule changes. Merchants will now have the ability to add checkout fees (a retailer surcharge) at the register and form buying groups.
Class counsel, on behalf of numerous retailers who are proposed class representatives, filed the Definitive Settlement Agreement, as well as a motion to request that the Honorable Judge Gleeson of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York preliminarily approve a landmark settlement of a lawsuit over merchant interchange fees. The settlement was originally announced on July 13th after over seven years of litigation, mediation and negotiation between retailers, payment networks and nine major card issuers. The parties involved have now come together to take the next step in the process in an effort to settle this dispute once and for all.
Members of the Electronic Payments Coalition remain highly confident that the Court will grant preliminary, and ultimately final, approval for the settlement in the merchant class action suit against the payment card industry – and that this represents the end of a long battle and finally puts all the issues raised to rest going forward. Recent noise in the press, however, has raised a number of questions as to why we remain so confident in this outcome. This is an interview with Robert Stolebarger, partner at Bryan Cave LLP and antitrust counsel for the Electronic Payments Coalition, where he addresses some of the most commonly asked questions.
EPC issued a statement in response to some retail trade associations’ objections to the proposed interchange settlement. Trish Wexler provided a written statement arguing that “It is clear that for some retail lobbying groups, nothing is ever enough. “
Four financial services associations issued a letter to Congress on the eve of the one year anniversary discussing the contents of a new GAO study about the impact of Dodd-Frank. The study shows that for smaller community banks and credit unions, which were supposed to be “exempted” from the fallout of this legislation, interchange revenue dropped by five percent in just the first three months of implementation, and that was before the network exclusivity and routing provisions took effect in April 2012. These provisions require financial institutions to enable their debit cards with two unaffiliated payment card networks which will likely cause even more substantial reductions in interchange fees to exempt issuers. The GAO further concludes that even more harm to community banks and credit unions is likely as the marketplace evolves.
The survey found that the costs of checking have risen dramatically, with some bank fees rising 25 percent or more. The survey finds that the rise in fees is, in part, a result of recent regulations limiting overdraft fees and capping the cost of debit card interchange fees. According to the survey, only 39 percent of banks offer a checking account with no minimum balance requirement and no monthly checking fee, down from 45 percent in 2011.