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This congressional testimony summarizes the effects on consumers and the economy of Dodd-Frank, the Durbin Amendment the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and other government regulations (such as the CARD Act of 2009) enacted in the wake of the recent financial crisis. The testimony notes that the combined effect of these laws and regulations has resulted in higher bank fees, a dramatic reduction in access to free checking, an increase in the number of unbanked consumers, a dramatic reduction in access to credit cards for low-income consumers, and continued low access to mortgages, especially among lower-income and higher-risk borrowers. In addition, because of the crushing and disproportionate burden of Dodd-Frank’s regulations on smaller banks, the law has promoted consolidation of the banking industry and forced many smaller banks to exit certain product markets, especially mortgages. This combined effect has reduced choice and competition for consumers. Finally, the lack of democratic accountability … Continue reading
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.
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.
The 2011 Debit Issuer Study, commissioned by PULSE, finds that small debit card issuers, including community banks and credit unions, on average expect a 73 percent decrease in debit interchange revenue as a result of pending interchange fee rules. While these issuers with less than $10 billion in assets are exempt from the regulations proposed by the Federal Reserve Board, they are critical of the interchange cap and skeptical that the exemption will be effective.
The Internet Retailer Survey: Lower debit card rates elude most online retailers, but it’s still early
Only 14.6% of online retailers that responded to the survey say they’re paying lower fees on debit card transactions, while 17.7% say they’re paying more and 67.7% say their debit processing fees have not changed in the past year.
This press release from the ICBA discusses the potentially damaging effects of the Durbin amendment on community banks and consumers.
The National Association of State Credit Union Supervisors wrote Congress urging it to consider the potential safety and soundness implications as well as the economic impact of the Durbin amendment as well as the potentially harmful effect upon small financial institutions.
Recent security breaches at big box stores like Michael’s are something credit unions are currently combating. They are helping consumers and ensuring the smooth process of payment services. However, the Durbin amendment threatens these smaller financial institutions and makes all interchange more costly, limiting services and harming the consumer.