WASHINGTON — Firms eager to shape newly passed financial laws have wasted no time in lobbying the Federal Reserve and other agencies, according to new details released Thursday by the central bank.
Summaries of 11 meetings involving Fed staff and outside corporations and advocacy groups highlight the high-stakes rulemaking that will occur as regulators seek to implement the wide-ranging financial overhaul legislation. The meeting log shows representatives from Visa Inc. met with Fed staff just two days after President Barack Obama signed the Dodd-Frank bill into law on July 21.
Debit cards and interchange rates charged to merchants were discussed at that meeting. The new law requires the Fed to write new rules for the fees charged to merchants for accepting cards, creating a vicious lobbying fight between merchants and financial firms eager to gain leverage in setting the fees.
Visa is not alone pressing the Fed on the issue. The records show Bank of America Corp., JPMorgan Chase & Co. and American Express Co. have all met with Fed staff at least once since mid-July to discuss the interchange issue.
Firms such as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Citigroup Inc. also have discussed tough new rules for derivatives with Fed officials, among others. Citi executives, meeting with the Fed on Aug. 18, expressed concerns about the effect of the new rules on U.S. firms.
"Citigroup representatives also expressed concerns about a narrow interpretation of the definition of hedging and the importance of retaining their ability to hedge across markets," the meeting summary prepared by the Fed said.
Financial firms have not been alone in seeking to discuss the potential changes. The Fed on Aug. 20 hosted a discussion with a group representing so-called "end users" — firms that use derivatives to hedge risks. Those present included executives from Safeway Inc. and Boeing Co., as well as representatives from the American Petroleum Institute and U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
"The group expressed concern both about the direct effect of regulations imposed on end users as well as the indirect effect of regulations imposed on dealers, which could affect all who transact in the derivatives market," the Fed summary said.