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Bloomberg reports that a US District Judge in South Dakota has “refused to throw out a lawsuit challenging forthcoming rules reducing fees that banks collect for debit-card transactions.”

In doing so, Judge Lawrence L. Piersol rejected both a government motion to toss the suit, as well as a request by TCF National Bank for a preliminary injunction that would have blocked enforcement of a fee-reducing law.

The government sought to have the suit dismissed because the rules that are the subject of the suit have not yet been finalized nor implemented; TCF was looking for an injunction because, in the words of its CEO, the bank will lose $6 million a month if its debit card fees are reduced and “we can’t recover it from the government, and we can’t recover it from the retailers.”

In essence, what the dual rulings mean is that the lawsuit can proceed even as the US Congress debates whether any debit card fee regulations ought to be delayed for further study. This debate has been encouraged by the financial services business, which has spent millions on lobbyists; it has been criticized both by retailers and consumer groups, on the grounds that usurious debit fees raise prices for consumers.

The Federal Reserve says that debit card fees have gone from about $8 billion in 2000 to $38 billion in 2009.
KC's View:
I don’t think consumers in general have any idea how much these fees cost them, nor how much money the banking business is willing to throw at the problem to stave off any significant, pro-consumer change. It is all about greed.