RILA announces support for the Financial CHOICE Act

Arlington , VA, 2017-Jun-09 — /EPR Retail News/ — Today ( 6/8/2017), the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) announced its support for the Financial CHOICE Act, urging lawmakers to take an important first step in addressing regulatory reform in the financial services sector. Austen Jensen, vice president for government affairs, issued the following statement regarding the retail community’s support for the House vote.

“In the wake of the financial crisis it was vital for Congress to act to assure the American people that our financial markets were stable and that a new regulatory apparatus would prevent another systemic problem. While well intended, several of these regulations have had a negative impact on community banks and other financial institutions that were never at the root of the financial collapse in 2008. The CHOICE Act takes the first step toward reconciling the need to treat mega-banks and Wall Street differently than Main Street financial institutions.

“Preserving swipe fee reform was a big win for retailers and consumers across the country. No retailer—big or small—received a bailout during the Great Recession, and we support provisions of the CHOICE Act that seek to ensure that Americans are never again forced to bail out failing financial institutions.”

RILA is the trade association of the worlds largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs, and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities, and distribution centers domestically and abroad.

Contact:
Jason Brewer
Executive Vice President, Communications & State Affairs
Phone: 703-600-2044
Email: jason.brewer@rila.org

Source: RILA

NACS comments on the Financial Choice Act which would repeal debit swipe fee reform

ALEXANDRIA, VA, 2017-Apr-27 — /EPR Retail News/ — Lyle Beckwith, Senior Vice President of Government Relations of the National Association of Convenience Stores (NACS), today issued the following statement on the House Financial Services Committee hearing on the Financial Choice Act which would repeal debit swipe fee reform:

“NACS strongly opposes the Financial Choice Act as long as it includes a provision to repeal debit swipe fee reform.  Reforms have saved consumers $30 billion and created tens of thousands of jobs.

“The proposed repeal would raise costs for and dampen job-creating investment by small businesses and drive up prices for consumers, while generating even greater profits for the giant banks who already benefit from the highest swipe fees in the world, even with reform in place.

“Here is the simple truth: Repeal of debit reform would take savings out of the hands of consumers and line the pockets of the largest banks and the two network giants—Visa and MasterCard— restoring their monopoly power to price-fix fees. Destroying competition in this way hurts small businesses and consumers—dramatically increasing costs for convenience store owners, for whom swipe fees are already, on average, their fastest-growing expense, and quickly wiping out the $30 billion in savings consumers have experienced thanks to the reform.

“The potential harm to competition, consumers and small business to benefit the credit-card Goliaths is the reason repeated attempts to repeal swipe fee reform have failed.  And it’s why, once again, NACS will keep doing everything in our power to build on the strong opposition to repeal and ensure that Members of Congress recognize the success of this vital reform in establishing competition in the debit-card market.”

Debit swipe fee reform was enacted in 2010 as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform package. The provision ensured competition among debit networks and gave banks incentives to compete on the swipe fees they charge merchants rather than all charging the same price-fixed fees.

According to a report by economist Robert Shapiro, reductions in debit fees driven by swipe fee reform put $6 billion in consumers’ hands through lower prices and created more than 37,000 new jobs in the first year alone that the reforms were in place.  In addition, small merchants have benefited from greater transparency in debit-card transactions.

SOURCE: NACS

Have a media inquiry for NACS?
For media interviews/comments contact Jeff Lenar

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National Grocers Association opposes the reintroduction of the Financial CHOICE Act

Arlington, VA, 2017-Apr-27 — /EPR Retail News/ — The National Grocers Association (NGA) today announced its strong opposition to the reintroduction of the Financial CHOICE Act, which would nearly double the rates food retailers pay each time a consumer uses their debit card. A discussion draft of the Financial CHOICE Act was released by U.S. Representative Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, and includes a provision to overturn the debit swipe fee reforms, also known as the Durbin Amendment, which passed as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act in 2010.

“Although the Durbin Amendment brought transparency and competition to a marketplace historically void of it, independent grocers continue to pay the highest swipe fees in the world,” said NGA president and CEO Peter J. Larkin. “Congress should be protecting Main Street independent grocers from price-gouging, not writing it into law.”

The Durbin Amendment successfully reformed anti-competitive price fixing in the debit marketplace by requiring that at least two unaffiliated debit routing networks be available for all purchase made using debit cards. The provision also limited debit interchange fees to 21 cents per transaction, as well as a 0.05 percent fee on all transactions to cover fraud and a one cent fraud prevention fee.

“While banks and card networks rake in record profits, independent supermarkets continue to operate on razor thin margins in one of the most fiercely competitive marketplaces. Swipe fees are the second largest operating costs for grocers and are out of their control. Rather than padding Wall Street’s pockets, savings from swipe fees could go to reinvesting in a grocer’s store, hiring more employees, and boosting the local economy. Congress can either side with Main Street grocers or anti-competitive Wall Street banks,” Larkin commented.

Each year, banks and financial institutions generate more than $79 billion in debit swipe fees, which contribute to a nearly 25 percent profit margin. Less than two percent of all U.S. banks and credit unions are affected by the Durbin Amendment, which requires financial institutions with more than $10 billion in assets to comply with the rule. Companies may exempt themselves if they establish individual debit rates without prescribing to those set by Visa and MasterCard.

Since its enactment, the Durbin Amendment has supported more than 37,000 jobs over the past five years and saved consumers nearly $6 billion after the first year since the policy’s implementation, according to economist Robert Shapiro.

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Click HERE to learn more about Debit Swipe Fee Reform.

SOURCE: National Grocers Association

Media inquiries: Please email communications@nationalgrocers.org.

RILA objects House Committee vote on Financial CHOICE Act

Arlington , VA, 2016-Sep-14 — /EPR Retail News/ — In a letter sent to House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling and Ranking Member Maxine Waters, the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) outlined retailers’ objections to H.R. 5983, the Financial CHOICE Act, and urged the Committee to vote against the legislation this week.

The CHOICE Act, specifically Section 335, repeals important debit reforms passed more than six years ago that brought fairness and competition to the debit card market. Swipe fee reform, also known as the Durbin Amendment, passed the Senate in 2010. The reforms require that the fees that banks and card networks charge every time a debit card is swiped are “reasonable and proportionate to the cost of processing the transaction.” Prior to the passage of reforms, card networks utilized their overwhelming market power to raise fees at will. Swipe fees are estimated to cost merchants and consumers $50 billion every year.

According to the letter, “repealing these reforms would remove competition and transparency from the marketplace and provide banks the ability to drastically raise fees – ultimately hurting businesses of all sizes.”

“The Durbin Amendment quite simply brought fairness and competition to a market that previously had none. Repealing the amendment would be turning the clock back on commonsense bipartisan reforms,” said Jennifer Safavian, RILA’s executive vice president for government affairs. “We urge the Committee to take into consideration the harmful consequences of this legislation as they take a vote this week.”

In addition to urging committee members to vote against this harmful legislation, RILA’s letter disputes many false claims made by the banking community about the Durbin Amendment. Despite their claims, the reform has not resulted in consumers’ loss of free checking, nor has it disproportionately harmed smaller banks.

Numerous RILA member companies were among the more than 400 companies that wrote House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling and Subcommittee Chairman Randy Neugebauer (R-TX) last week urging that they withdraw their respective proposals to repeal debit swipe reform.

RILA is the trade association of the world’s largest and most innovative retail companies. RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities and distribution centers domestically and abroad.

Contact:

Brian Dodge
Executive Vice President, Communications and Strategic Initiatives
Phone: 703-600-2017
Email: brian.dodge@rila.org

Source: Retail Industry Leaders Association

NACS issues statement on the House Financial Services Committee vote to report the Financial Choice Act

Alexandria, VA, 2016-Sep-14 — /EPR Retail News/ — Lyle Beckwith, senior vice president of government relations at NACS, today (9/13/2016) issued the following statement on the House Financial Services Committee vote to report H.R. 5983, the Financial Choice Act:

“NACS is deeply disappointed at the House Financial Services Committee’s vote to report the controversial and misnamed ‘Financial Choice Act’—which includes repeal of the highly effective, pro-competition and pro-consumer debit swipe fee reform—but given the bipartisan opposition that arose even as the bill was rammed through Committee, repeal efforts should not move forward.

“While the bill’s sponsors inserted the acronym CHOICE in the bill title—standing for ‘Creating Hope and Opportunity for Investors, Consumers and Entrepreneurs’—the Act as currently constituted would instead generate more costs and lost opportunity for entrepreneurs, higher prices for consumers and greater monopoly profits for the credit-card giants by eliminating competition in the debit-card arena.

“Along with members of Congress from both sides of the aisle who have already stood against this ill-considered measure, NACS will continue to fight to keep the interests of merchants and consumers ahead of the credit-card Goliaths, who already benefit from the highest swipe fees in the world.

“Specifically, we’ll keep doing everything in our power to build on the strong opposition to this bill and ensure that members of Congress and the Senate recognize the success of this vital reform in re-establishing competition in the debit-card market.  Repeal of swipe fee reform would put Visa and MasterCard right back into the price-fixing business by making it impossible for smaller card networks to compete, and would dramatically increase costs for convenience store owners, for whom swipe fees are already, on average, their fastest-growing expense.  And it would quickly wipe out the nearly $6 billion in savings consumers have experienced each year thanks to the reform.

“In the end, it is clear that the bill in its current form lacks the support necessary to get through Congress, given its potential harm to competition, consumers and small business.”

Swipe fee reform, enacted in 2010 as part of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform package, required centrally price-fixed swipe fees on debit transactions to be “reasonable and proportional” to the cost of processing the transaction and ensured competition among debit networks. Repeal would allow unlimited price-fixing of fees and let the credit card giants block their competitors from having a chance to try to get business from merchants.

According to a report by the Merchants Payments Coalition, reductions in debit fees driven by swipe fee reform put nearly $6 billion in consumers’ hands through lower prices in the first year of reform alone and supported more than 37,000 new jobs annually.  In addition, small merchants have benefited from greater transparency in debit-card transactions.

Founded in 1961 as the National Association of Convenience Stores, NACS (nacsonline.com) is the international association for convenience and fuel retailing. The U.S. convenience store industry, with more than 154,000 stores across the country, conducts 160 million transactions a day, sells 80% of the fuel purchased in the country and had total sales of $575 billion in 2015. NACS has 2,100 retail and 1,700 supplier member companies, which do business in nearly 50 countries.

Contact:

(703) 684-3600 (phone)
(703) 836-4564 (fax)

Source: NACS