BofA Debit Fees Offers Opportunity for Perfect Information to Drive Competition

By: Friday September 30, 2011 1:51 pm

Ever since Bank of America and other banks announced their monthly fees for using debit cards for purchases (BofA is leading the way on this with their $5 monthly fee), I’ve heard an elevated amount of conversation about it from friends and passersby. Most public policy doesn’t grab the person in the street, but charging [...]

Swipe Fee Battle Comes to a Vote Today

By: Wednesday June 8, 2011 8:00 am

We have 9.1% unemployment, but we can’t pass jobs bills because they’re too expensive. We have an unreformed financial sector still desirous of engaging in risky lending, but we can’t implement risk retention rules that would force financial institutions to keep a tiny sliver of the deals they make instead of packaging them up and [...]

Lack of Leadership, Continued Power of Banks Crippling Financial Reforms

By: Tuesday June 7, 2011 8:16 am

Tim Geithner laments the “personnel gap” that has come about, with multiple members of the economic policy and financial regulatory team all leaving their posts around the same time. The federal government faces huge gaps of leadership in economic and financial policymaking, with about a dozen senior positions vacant or staffed by temporary caretakers, at [...]

Retailers Enter Swipe Fee Fight as Tester Backtracks

By: Thursday May 19, 2011 11:16 am

Retailers have finally begun to strike back on swipe fee reform, the underground issue that you would be nauseated to discover is taking up a striking amount of the Congress’ time. This is basically a battle between two large, competing interests. On the one side, you have banks who have collect $16 billion annually in [...]

Bair, Bernanke Ready to Move on Swipe Fee Rule, Despite Objections

By: Friday May 13, 2011 12:58 pm

A couple weeks ago, we saw the enormous lobby culture massing around swipe fees, the relatively obscure issue that determines where billions of dollars go between banks and retailers. The important thing to start with is that this was already determined through a public process. Last year, Congress held a vote, Dick Durbin got over [...]

HuffPo Expose on Swipe Fees Blows the Lid off Lobby Culture in DC

By: Thursday April 28, 2011 8:45 am

There’s a conceit that Congress is where public servants go to improve the quality of American life. OK, nobody has that conceit anymore. But surely many believe Congress has a set of priorities other than what Zach Carter and Ryan Grim describe in a spectacular piece today, which is as a mediator between competing corporate [...]

NEA, NAACP Swallow Bankers’ Line on Swipe Fees

By: Tuesday March 22, 2011 7:25 am

The amendment to the Dodd-Frank legislation reducing the cost of interchange fees for debit and credit cards passed with a supermajority in the Senate. It went through the normal process and it won. Now the banks, in a slightly stronger position than during the Dodd-Frank debate, are trying to get the changes delayed, and effectively [...]

Senators Try to Roll Bank Interchange Fee Limits

By: Wednesday March 16, 2011 8:40 am

Maybe the most surprising amendment to pass in the Dodd-Frank financial regulatory reform bill was Dick Durbin’s interchange fee amendment. The banks had collected this exorbitant fee for a long time, even on debit cards, where the transaction costs were almost nil. But Durbin somehow won the amendment on the floor of the Senate. There [...]

Federal Reserve Brings Hammer on Credit Card Industry on Swipe Fees

By: Thursday December 16, 2010 1:28 pm

The Federal Reserve issued rules that would cut debit fees significantly, fulfilling the promise of Dodd-Frank that these interchange fees would get reduced. This provides a boost to retailers and ultimately consumers and employees, who would see lower prices and reduced pressure to cost-cut. It really impacts the credit card industry, who has been making [...]

Big Bank Lobbyists Wait Two Whole Days After Passage to Visit Fed on FinReg

By: Friday September 3, 2010 7:50 am

When the financial reform bill passed, surely the big firms, who spent tens of millions lobbying Congress, would be chastened. They would lick their wounds and reassess their strategies. Obviously, they wouldn’t jump headlong into influencing the implementation process, fearing a backlash from a public who isn’t keen on Wall Street. Surely they’d have to [...]

Proxy Access Rules Example of How FinReg’s Strength to Be Decided in Implementation

By: Friday August 27, 2010 6:58 am

I knew this was coming, but apparently the SEC’s ruling on Wednesday on the proxy access issue slipped by me. It turns out that they gave more power to shareholders and investors to nominate directors to corporate boards. This is a potentially big tool to fight corporate cronyism. The new rule “requires companies to include [...]

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