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Banks warn of swipe fee fallout

By Marcie Geffner · Bankrate.com
Friday, July 1, 2011
Posted: 12 pm ET

The Federal Reserve Board this week issued its final rule establishing an interchange rate of 24 cents for debit card transactions and implementing related requirements of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

The final rule came out with the usual flurry of doom-and-gloom press statements on both sides of the debate, plus some commentary from the Fed chairman and vice chair.

Here's a sampling of snippets:

"I believe the final rule gives careful consideration to the statutory language, the cost data available to us and the complexities of the debit interchange payment system." -- Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke

"The debit card success story has been marred by the level of discord between merchants and issuers on the interchange fee issue, which has played out in the courts, in the Congress and more recently here at the Board." -- Federal Reserve Vice Chair Janet Yellen

"ABA will be watching closely to determine whether market incentives created by this rule inspire retailers to drive business away from community banks, a move that would cause real harm to those institutions and the communities they serve. We will also watch to see whether retailers reward customers with lower prices from their billion-dollar windfall or simply pocket the money." -- American Bankers Association

"We continue to be concerned about the impact on consumers and small financial institutions from this price-fixing policy. We hope Congress will exercise vigorous oversight of this new policy and monitor its implementation in order to assess and minimize its negative consequences to consumers, small financial institutions and the American economy." -- Electronic Payments Coalition

"ICBA and America's community banks remain unequivocally concerned about the harm that the regulation of debit card interchange fees will have on Main Street and the customers they serve... This harsh, below-cost price cap will be incredibly detrimental to community banks and their customers over time." -- Independent Community Bankers of America

"American consumers suffered a major loss today... While the rate will provide modest relief, it does not go far enough." -- National Retail Federation

"Thousands of chain restaurant locations and millions of their customers that rely on debit cards will be disproportionately harmed by the new rules, which provide no relief from the growing mountain of unfair and hidden swipe fees imposed by the big banks. We are very disappointed." --National Council of Chain Restaurants

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2 Comments
mike mcconnachie
July 02, 2011 at 1:24 am

This may be the revival of cash and safety deposit boxes.