Federal Reserve Governor Sarah Bloom Raskin said the central bank won’t commit itself on a final rule for capping debit-card “swipe” fees until it has a chance to review public comments on the proposal released in December.
“My colleagues and I are very interested in reviewing the full range of comments offered on our proposed rule,” Raskin said in remarks prepared for a House hearing today. Governors “are reserving judgment on the terms of the final rule until we have the opportunity to benefit from those comments,” she said, citing “the novelty and unusual complexity” of the rulemaking.
Raskin was called before a House Financial Services subcommittee to discuss the Fed’s proposal to cap so-called interchange fees on debit-card purchases at 12 cents per transaction. The proposal, required by the Dodd-Frank Act, has rekindled a battle over the fees between banks and retailers.
Large lenders including Bank of America Corp. stand to lose more than $12 billion in revenue if the proposal as written becomes final. Shares of Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc., which set the fees and pass the money to card-issuing banks, tumbled more than 10 percent after the plan was released Dec. 16, amid investor concern that the caps will damage their business model.
The provision and the resulting regulations “may result in significant market changes,” Raskin said in her prepared remarks. The comment period for the Fed proposal ends next week. The central bank is required to complete work on the cap provision by April 21.
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