July 16 - The American Bankers Association has released the following statement on merchant interchange settlement by Frank Keating, president and CEO.
“We are hopeful that today’s settlement marks the final chapter in what has always been nothing more than a legal battle between two industries over who should pay to support our nation’s incredibly efficient payment system. It is a highly complex issue that has been settled in the proper venue – our nation’s court system – through a voluntary agreement.
“Let’s be clear – retailers, not consumers, benefit from today’s resolution. This settlement even provides merchants with the ability to impose ‘checkout fees’ on customers just for using credit cards. This type of behavior is nothing new for retailers. Even after receiving an $8 billion annual windfall from the Durbin Amendment, they refused to pass along promised savings to customers and sued the Fed for even more profits. Big-box retailers will likely seize this opportunity to ask Congress for even more handouts. If retailers use this settlement to justify more government price controls, they will just be trying to profit at their own customers’ expense.
“These types of issues are best resolved by market participants. Recent history illustrates the negative consequences for consumers when policymakers choose winners and losers and distort the marketplace. An excellent example is the ill-conceived passage of the Durbin Amendment, which led to increased profits for big-box retailers and no savings for consumers.
“Only time will tell if this history will repeat itself, as retailers continue to show little regard for consumers. While the banking industry may not like all the results in this case, our industry is ready to put this matter behind us and continue playing a critical role in our nation’s economic growth and job creation.”