Five House Democrats asked Attorney General Eric Holder to investigate whether U.S. banks and their trade groups colluded on decisions to charge new fees in response to caps on debit-card swipe fees.
“Statements made by individual banks and their trade associations raise questions about whether some price increases that have occurred this year have actually been coordinated,” Representative Peter Welch, a Vermont Democrat, wrote in a letter sent to Holder today. Representatives John Conyers of Michigan, Raul Grijalva of New Mexico, Keith Ellison of Minnesota and Mike Honda of California also signed the letter.
The Federal Reserve on Oct. 1 implemented caps that limit fees that card networks charge merchants to 21 cents per transaction -- about half the average retailers have paid in the past. In response, Bank of America Corp., Wells Fargo & Co. and other lenders have been rolling out new charges to debit-card customers to make up some of the $8 billion the largest banks may lose because of the rules.
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