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NEW: Appeals court overturns merchant challenge to Fed interchange rule
WASHINGTON (3/21/14, UPDATED 10:44 a.m. ET)--U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit Judges David Tatel, Harry Edwards, and Stephen Williams ruled today to overturn a lower court that supported merchants' arguments in the ongoing debit interchange fee cap case known as NACS, et al. v. Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.
 
In this case, a merchants' coalition has challenged the Fed's implementation of a Dodd-Frank Act-imposed debit interchange cap as too high. The Credit Union National Association and its partner members of The Clearing House coalition maintain that the cap, in fact, is too restrictive.

"The district court granted summary judgment to the merchants, concluding that the rules violate the statute's plain language. We disagree," the circuit  court judges penned in their opinion that was just released. "Applying traditional tools of statutory interpretation, we hold that the (Federal Reserve) Board's rules generally rest on reasonable constructions of the statute, though we remand one minor issue—the Board's treatment of so-called transactions-monitoring costs—to the Board for further explanation."

Credit Union National Association General Counsel Eric Richard  explained of the judges opinion, "This decision constitutes an almost total rejection of the merchants' arguments. 

"We hope this will be a first step toward restoring some grounding in reality to the debate over interchange fees, not only in the courts , but also in Congress and at the regulatory agencies."
 
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