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Retailers and Banks Still Bickering Over Interchange Fees

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Retailers and Banks Still Bickering Over Interchange FeesMost recently, a group of business owners held a forum on the proposed interchange fee restrictions that would greatly limit what they believe are exorbitant charges, according to a report from the New Orleans Times-Picayune. However, officials at banks large and small say the proposed changes would have a massive, detrimental effect on community institutions without the capital to absorb the massive revenue hit.

[Related: Interchange Fees: The Billion-Dollar Fight For Control of Your Wallet]

“I think those proponents of price controls ought to be careful what they ask for,” Guy Williams, CEO of Gulf Coast Bank and Trust, whose bank operates 15 branches all over Louisiana, told the newspaper. “Why stop with interchange (also known as swipe) fees? Why not move to gasoline prices and what you can charge for restaurant meals?”

Retailers argue that the lower interchange fees would result in lower prices for consumers, as they currently build the fee into products’ costs, the report said. In addition, they point out that there is also an exemption for banks whose value is below a certain level, which would provide some protection for local institutions.

[Related: Strange Bedfellows in Debit Interchange Fee Fight]

Originally, the lower interchange fees were supposed to be in place by the summer, but the Federal Reserve Board recently delayed making its final ruling on the matter in an effort to better sift through public comments it received.

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