Austen Jensen, senior vice president, government affairs at the Retail Industry Leaders Association, issued the following statement in response to the Senate approving four of President Biden’s nominees to serve on the Federal Reserve:
“The Federal Reserve is facing 40-year high inflation, a supply chain crisis, a tightening labor market, and the conflict in Ukraine. These are complicated and serious challenges on their own and faced simultaneously will require the full attention of the Federal Reserve to navigate these economic uncertainties.
“Vitally important to the retail industry are the policy areas the Federal Reserve oversees to ensure Wall Street banks, Visa and Mastercard can no longer violate the law when it comes to routing online debit transactions.
“COVID drastically changed consumer behavior and increased the use of online purchasing. Yet, the dominant card networks and large financial institutions, at the expense of Main Street merchants and their consumers, have failed to implement a “merchants right to route” these transactions. They are gouging merchants on these fees, and higher fees means higher prices for consumers. In 2020 alone, the lack of online routing options cost the merchant industry over $2 billion dollars.
“The Fed has proposed a clarification that all online debit transactions fall under the Durbin Amendment and therefore a merchant’s right to route online debit transactions must be guaranteed. This clarification is critical to the retail industry and deserves immediate attention from the Federal Reserve.
“RILA congratulates the newly appointed Fed Board members. They have an incredibly important role to play as the country navigates untold financial pressures. Leading retailers, as one of the largest employers in the country, stand ready to assist the Fed as they work diligently to preserve a safe, fair, and stable monetary and financial systems for all Americans.”
RILA is the US trade association for leading retailers. We convene decision-makers, advocate for the industry, and promote operational excellence and innovation. Our aim is to elevate a dynamic industry by transforming the environment in which retailers operate.
RILA members include more than 200 retailers, product manufacturers, and service suppliers, which together account for more than $1.5 trillion in annual sales, millions of American jobs, and more than 100,000 stores, manufacturing facilities, and distribution centers domestically and abroad.
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