The new administration’s announcement, made in January by executive order, said no new federal regulations should be issued for the next 60 days. It certainly made headlines. However, announcements like this are fairly common practice in a new administration. What’s really making headlines now, at least in the financial services industry, are the new efforts by GOP leadership to roll back, or at least substantially revise, the financial regulations imposed in the past decade—most specifically, the Dodd-Frank Act and its debit-card specific provision known as the Durbin Amendment.
A new version of the bill, introduced last summer as the Financial Choice Act, would repeal the limits placed on debit card swipe fees that were created in the Durbin Amendment. We already know the promised benefits of this cap have failed to materialize. Financial institutions (FIs) of all shapes and sizes have lined up in support of a repeal, with merchant groups understandably against it.
Like any regulatory showdown, this one will take several months (if not years) to really take shape. Regulatory watchdogs believe the ideas behind any changes will likely begin to take shape this year, yet it will still be quite a while before any actual changes become law.
So what do FIs do in the meantime? According to Cindy Williams, VP of regulatory compliance for TMG sister company PolicyWorks, FIs can enjoy this regulatory breather while taking an in-depth look at their existing programs. “I’m telling FIs ‘don’t relax’,” Williams said in a recent interview. “Use this time to shore up your internal policies and processes so when the changes come, you’re ready.”