AAI President Bert Foer e-mailed the House and Senate Conferees on Financial Reform, urging their support for the Durbin Amendment, which goes part of the way toward the reforms that Foer had proposed in his New York Times op-ed on interchange fees.
June 14, 2010
To the Senate and House Conferees on H.R. 4173 (as passed by Senate S. 3217)
Re: The Durbin Amendment
As you work on the final financial reform package, I hope you will support the Durbin Amendment on Reasonable Fees and Rules for Payment Card Transactions. You may be aware that I authored an op-ed on interchange fees that appeared in the New York Times in April (enclosed). My position, based on fairness to consumers and merchants and recognizing that neither the market nor antitrust is likely to solve our long-standing and expensive interchange problem, goes further than the Durbin Amendment. It urges that debit cards be handled like checks, at par; and that Visa and MasterCard credit cards have their interchange fees set by Government to permit only recovery of costs plus a reasonable profit. A detailed White Paper providing a full discussion of interchange fees, may be accessed at http://www.antitrustinstitute.org/Archives/interchange_proposal.ashx. Although not going as far as I would prefer, the Durbin Amendment makes sense and should be considered an essential part of a reform package.
Albert A. Foer
The American Antitrust Institute