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ICBA: Damaging Effects of Debit Card Price Controls on Consumers Should Be No Surprise to Policymakers

Washington, D.C. (September 30, 2011)— Camden R. Fine, ICBA president and CEO of the Independent Community Bankers of America (ICBA), released this statement today in advance of the Oct. 1 effective date for the Federal Reserve’s rule implementing the harmful Durbin debit card interchange price controls in the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act.

"Our nation’s more than 7,000 community banks are relationship lenders that continue to look out for the best interest of their local customers each and every day. From the onset of the ill-conceived Durbin amendment on debit interchange, ICBA and community banks in cities and towns throughout America have been at the forefront—warning policymakers that the legislation would cost consumers more, at a time when they need their money most.

"As the Oct. 1 deadline for implementing this damaging law draws near, we are seeing the harmful consequences play out as the nation’s consumers are being slapped with banking fees because they use one of the most valuable pieces of plastic in their wallets—their debit cards, which allow them to easily budget their money and conveniently pay for the things they purchase.

“Even though merchants said they would cut prices thanks to increased fee revenue received from the new debit interchange law, it’s uncertain if this extra revenue will be passed down to the consumer in the form of savings. If they do cut costs, any savings will be dwarfed by the bank fees that consumers will now pay for debit card usage.

“While many community banks aren’t charging their customers new fees yet, and many still offer free checking, community banks may find themselves having to eliminate or revamp these programs depending on payment card network and merchant implementation of the rule. It’s certainly something community banks don’t ever want to have to do, but their hands may be tied.”

For more information, visit www.icba.org.