Senator Scales Back Debit Delay Drive

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WASHINGTON – Sen. Jon Tester, leading the effort to delay the controversial debit interchange fee rule, has agreed to shorten his proposed delay to 15 months from 24 months, giving credit union and bank regulators time to study the impact of the rule on the institutions they supervise.

“While it’s important to stop and examine the impact of limiting debit card swipe fees, some have said two years is too long,” Tester said. “I am willing to adjust my legislation to address these concerns.”

Tester’s new proposal would reduce the delay to 15 months, and would give regulators six months to conduct a study on the impact of the rules, another six to rewrite them and three months for implementation.

Earlier this week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada, who sets the Senate agenda, said he plans to put Tester’s bill to a vote, even though he will vote against it.

Last year’s Wall Street reform bill requires the Federal Reserve to set limits on debit fees paid by merchants to credit unions and banks, but a proposal by the Fed in December would slash the fees all the way to as little as seven cents per transaction, costing credit unions and banks billions of dollars in revenues.

 

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