BB&T revenue from debit-card fees hit by regulations

From: Charlotte Business Journal by Matt Evans, Reporter

The amount of revenue BB&T Corp. took in from debit-card interchange fees dropped dramatically from the third quarter to the fourth quarter of last year as new federal regulations limiting those fees took effect.

David White, a spokesman for BB&T (NYSE:BBT), said check-card fee revenue fell to $42 million in the fourth quarter from $78 million in the third quarter, a decline of 46 percent. The “Durbin amendment” banking-reform law limited the amount banks with more than $10 billion in assets can charge merchants for accepting debit cards to an average of 24 cents per transaction. Before, they had been taking in about 44 cents per transaction.

BB&T’s numbers differ from those in a report issued Thursday by SNL Financial tallying interchange fee changes for 20 of the biggest banks and card issuers in the country. That report tallied BB&T’s decline at 70 percent, to $63.2 million from $208.4 million. White could not explain that data.

According to the SNL report, most, but not all, big financial institutions saw interchange fees fall. Wells Fargo & Co. saw its revenue from the fees drop to $611 million from $948 million, and such revenue at Bank of America fell to $1.05 billion from $1.49 billion.

American Express Co. and Discover Financial Services were among the large institutions that did not see a drop in fees; those companies do not issue debit cards.

Winston-Salem-based BB&T is the nation’s 10th-largest commercial and retail bank, with more than $175 billion in assets and 1,800 branch offices.

BB&T ranks as the Charlotte market’s third-largest bank, based on local deposits of $5.62 billion.

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