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NRF welcomes court pressure on Fed to discuss interim interchange rule

national retail federationThe National Retail Federation welcomed last week Judge Richard Leon’s insistence that the Federal Reserve proceed expeditiously on issuing an interim debit interchange rule, following the judge’s ruling last month that effectively invalidated most of the rule.

“We’re very pleased to see the court light a fire under the Fed,” NRF Senior Vice President and General Counsel Mallory Duncan said. “These fees have been driving up prices for merchants and their customers for years, and every day that it continues is one day too long. The court is absolutely correct that this is a multi-billion-dollar issue with huge implications for the U.S. economy and needs to be dealt with immediately.”

In a lawsuit brought against the Fed by the NRF and a number of other trade associations, Judge Leon ruled late last month that the Fed’s rule went against Congress’ intentions when it established a 21-cent cap on the amount a bank could charge a merchant to process a debit transaction.

In a hearing last Wednesday, Leon told the Fed’s counsel that he wants the regulator to push forward in issuing an interim rule, saying he expects the central bank to complete the interim regulations by the end of October and that the rule should go into effect while the regulator takes comments on the measure.

Leon set a hearing date for Aug. 21 for the Fed to state its position on issuing an interim rule and how long it would take for such a measure to be implemented.

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