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The U.S. Congress’ decision to retain debit swipe-fee reforms in the Financial CHOICE Act of 2017 was met with approbation and relief by organizations representing the American grocery industry, which strongly opposed efforts to repeal what Arlington, Va.-based Food Marketing Institute (FMI) called “this pro-competitive reform that has saved grocers and consumers billions of dollars and provided enhanced competition since it was enacted in 2010.”
"We are grateful to the many members of Congress who listened intently to their constituents about an incredibly complicated subject – routing and competition in debit card transactions – and understood that competition is critical, that the reforms are working and that they should be maintained,” noted FMI President and CEO Leslie G. Sarasin.
Added Sarasin: "Our members put a lot of their own shoe-leather into making sure they shared the personal angle of this very complicated policy debate – competition is important in the debit market just as it is in the grocery business."
The Arlington-based National Grocers Association (NGA) was likewise gratified by the news.
“The battle to preserve debit swipe-fee reforms is an important victory for the independent supermarket industry and was won because of the grass-roots efforts by many of NGA members from across the country,” the organization said. “In meetings in Washington, D.C., and back in their home states, independent supermarket owners have personalized the impact that repeal of these pro-competitive reforms would have on their business. … This is truly a victory for Main Street merchants over Wall Street banks and should send a strong message that debit reforms are here to stay.
The association continued: “NGA will remain vigilant through the rest of the legislative process to ensure language to repeal debit reforms is removed from the bill.”