Flashback: TCF CEO Refers to Swipe Fees as Pure Profit for Big Banks

Oct 12, 2010, 13:32 ET from Merchants Payments Coalition

"Most of that revenue drops directly to our bottom line"

WASHINGTON, Oct. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following was released by Merchants Payments Coalition:

As TCF filed a lawsuit this morning challenging the constitutionality of the Durbin Amendment, it's worth noting how quickly TCF Chairman and CEO William A. Cooper has changed his tune regarding debit card swipe fees. In announcing today's lawsuit, Cooper claims that the new law will mandate fees "lower than the incremental cost of providing the service."

But in March before a group of investors and analysts, Cooper let slip the real reason big banks were opposed to common-sense swipe fee reform. Cooper told those gathered that swipe fees were essentially pure profit: "Most of that revenue drops directly to our bottom line."

That was bolstered by Cooper's statement today that TCF's retail banking will still be profitable after the Durbin amendment is implemented, just not quite as profitable as it would be with more interchange revenue. Congress stepped in because hidden swipe fees became a secret cash machine for big banks at the expense of retailers and small businesses. These fees—largely hidden from the public—had tripled from 2001 to 2008.

Mr. Cooper's cry of poverty for big banks is laughable—and his own words are proof of that.

The Merchants Payments Coalition is a group of retailers, supermarkets, drug stores, convenience stores, fuel stations, on-line merchants and other businesses who are fighting against unfair credit card fees and fighting for a more competitive and transparent card system that works better for consumers and merchants alike. The coalition's member associations collectively represent about 2.7 million stores with approximately 50 million employees.  For more information about credit card swipe fees, please visit http://www.UnfairCreditCardFees.com.

SOURCE Merchants Payments Coalition