WASHINGTON - Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) has expressed his support of the NACS and other merchant groups' lawsuit against the Federal Reserve Board, according to the National Restaurant Association's blog.
In a friend-of-the-court brief, Durbin agrees that a Federal Reserve regulation doesn't concur with part of the Durbin Amendment. His brief goes over how the rule should be changed to comply with the law. Durbin also counters how the Fed has misstated his own statements and intent.
The merchant groups filed their lawsuit in November 2011. The suit alleges that the Federal Reserve ignored the intent of Congress when the Fed provided regulations to limit debit-card swipe fees. The Federal Reserve rules took effect October 2011. The Durbin Amendment aimed to curb the rising debit card fees for retailers by promoting more competition between banks and payment networks. The lawsuit seeks to enhance the regulations.
Durbin focused on the behavior by payment networks and how that has negatively influenced low debit-card transactions, namely merchants with low average transactions, such as convenience stores, that have had rates soar because MasterCard and Visa hiked rates to the new cap of 21 cents per transaction.
"It's an absurd situation," Durbin writes in the brief about card networks charging 22 cents to process a 10-cent pencil purchase. He wants the Fed to adjust its regulations to better fit the intent of the amendment.