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Financial Reform Heads to Committee on April 26

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Proposed financial reform, which includes repealing the debit card swipe fee reform that has been in place since 2011, is heading to discussions in the U.S. House Financial Services Committee.

U.S. Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), chairman of the committee, has scheduled a hearing on the issue for April 26. The hearing will come one week after he released an updated draft for the Financial CHOICE Act, which would end the provisions of the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, on April 19, according to Financial Regulation News.

"Republicans are eager to work with the president to end and replace the Dodd-Frank mistake," Hensarling said in a statement April 19. "We want real consumer protections that will give you more choices."

The revised proposal comes 10 months after Hensarling unveiled his initial discussion draft of the Financial CHOICE Act, as CSNews Online previously reported.

And just like then, the convenience store industry is against any efforts to repeal swipe fee reform, which it won in a hard-fought battle that pitted retailers against big banks and financial institutions. 

According to NACS, the Association for Convenience & Fuel Retailing, by restoring competition to the broken debit cards market, debit reform provided needed relief for retailers and consumers alike. A study by economist Robert Shapiro demonstrates that consumers have saved $30 billion since reform came into effect and 37,000 jobs were supported in the first year alone, the group said.

"Repeal of debit reform would result in even higher swipe fees for merchants and increase the prices consumers pay for goods and services. For this reason, NACS, along with other members of the Merchants Payments Coalition, are strongly advocating for the repeal provision to be taken out of the Financial CHOICE Act and will oppose that bill as long as it includes repeal," NACS said. 

Generally, the Financial CHOICE Act would reform the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and the National Credit Union Administration, among other reforms, Financial Regulation News reported.

The bill would eliminate Title II of the Dodd-Frank Act and any federal law related to it, effectively ending the so-called "too-big-to-fail" bank bailouts. Specifically, the Financial CHOICE Act portends that the Dodd-Frank provisions "make America less prosperous, less stable, and less free," according to language in the 593-page discussion draft.

The Electronic Payments Coalition, a coalition of payments industry stakeholders, such as credit unions, community banks, trade associations, payment card networks and banks, said such a repeal "shows Congress is ready to take action on a broken promise to consumers," the news outlet reported.

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