ABA: Durbin not helping consumers

The American Bankers Association, along with several other trade groups, said in a Friday letter to Congress that the price controls established under the controversial Durbin Amendment have done little to benefit consumers.

When retailers made the case to Congress to cap interchange rates, they said that savings resulting from a fee cap would be passed on to consumers in the form of lower prices. Data released by the Electronic Payments Coalition, however, revealed that retailers have saved $8 billion as a result of the rule, but more than 75 percent of retailers have raised prices or kept them the same since the provision took effect.

“Despite promises by retailers, and despite a realized $8 billion windfall by these retailers over this past year, consumers have yet to see discounts for using their debit cards at the register,” the groups said in the letter.

Some retailers have returned to Congress and asked lawmakers to further reduce interchange fees. The ABA said that doing so would be an “insult” to American consumers.

“The same tired arguments from these retailer lobby groups have long since been resolved, not only by Congress but also in the courts through a comprehensive settlement in the dispute,” the groups said in the letter. “It’s clear that some retail groups will never be satisfied with any amount of windfall they receive. It’s time to put this epic battle to a close before even more damage is done.”

Other parties to the letter include the Credit Union National Association, the Independent Community Bankers of America and the National Association of Federal Credit Unions.

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