ARLINGTON, VA – Food Marketing Institute (FMI) President and CEO Leslie G. Sarasin issued the following statement regarding the House Financial Services Committee consideration of The Financial CHOICE Act of 2017 (H.R. 10).

“H.R. 10 allows the country’s largest banks to take $10 billion a year out of the hands of Main Street grocers and their customers. At a time when Main Street is looking for ways to create jobs and grow the nation’s economy, it will be unproductive and quite harmful if the House Financial Services Committee approves a bill that would repeal the common sense debit reforms passed in 2010. Main Street grocers, their customers and the American economy deserve better than the negative impact this harmful bill will have.”

“As drafted, this bill would repeal debit reforms that have proven to be successful. These reforms provide competition in debit network routing, helping to keep prices low for grocers and their customers. Repealing the law would allow the country’s largest banks to increase their profits by doubling the average interchange collected on every debit transaction.

Today, U.S. merchants already pay the highest swipe fees in the world. In 2015, the European Union limited debit interchange to 0.2%. So when a U.S. grocer pays 24 cents on a $20 transaction, a European grocer pays four cents on the same $20 purchase. Earlier this year, MasterCard announced it would reduce the swipe fees Canadian small businesses pay by 12%, furthering the divide between fee levels paid by U.S. merchants compared to our northern neighbors. Increasing these hidden fees even more will make it more difficult for U.S. merchants to grow, hire more employees and compete on the global stage. FMI strongly opposes H.R. 10 in its current form.