Conference to Examine Impact of Fed’s Proposed Debit Card Regulations

What:         A half-day conference will examine the potential impact of proposed Federal Reserve Board regulations on debit card interchange fees. Under the proposed regulations, bank debit card fees charged to merchants for debit card transactions would drop by some 80%. Banks have expressed dismay over what would be a massive revenue loss, while merchants applaud the proposal. The conference will examine what the rules ultimately could mean for consumers, banks and economic efficiency. A final decision by the Fed is expected on April 21, 2011, unless Congress passes legislation to postpone the deadline to allow for further study.
Who:         Economists, law professors and representatives from banks, networks, merchants and consumer groups. Participants will include John Buhrmaster, chairman and president of 1st National Bank of Scotia; Mallory Duncan, senior vice president, general counsel, National Retail Federation; Chris McWilton, president, U.S. Markets, MasterCard Worldwide; and Travis Plunkett, legislative director, Consumer Federation of America.
          Tuesday, March 29, 2011, 9:00 a.m. – 2:30 p.m. ET
          9 a.m., “Reasonable Regulation of Debit Card Fees,” Martin Neal Baily, Bernard Schwartz Senior Fellow in Economic Studies, Brookings Institution, and Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors under President Clinton.
          10:15 a.m., “The Economic Impact of Durbin on Consumers and Small Businesses,” Richard Schmalensee, professor of Economics, Management and Dean Emeritus, MIT Sloan School of Management, and a member of the Council of Economic Advisors under President George H.W. Bush.
          11:00 a.m., “What’s the Problem, What’s the Solution, Who Wins, Who Loses,” Panel discussion with law professors Adam Levitin (Georgetown), Ronald Mann (Columbia), and Todd Zywicki (George Mason), and economist James Miller III (former OMB Director), moderated by Douglass Eliott (Fellow at Brookings Institution).
          12:30 p.m., Debit Card Stakeholder Roundtable
          Willard InterContinental Hotel
          1401 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
          Washington, D.C. 20004

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