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Appeals court won't review antitrust deal until final lower court decision
NEW YORK (2/4/13)--A U.S. appellate court in New York Thursday denied a motion to reconsider a lower court's preliminary approval of the $7.5 billion interchange fee settlement that MasterCard and Visa signed in July in an antitrust lawsuit filed against them by merchants.

Instead, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit told the group filing the motion they must refile their objections to the settlement after the lower court has made a final decision on the matter.

Credit unions are not involved in the lawsuit, but the landmark settlement's terms would affect them and other financial institutions, said the Credit Union National Association.

The settlement would require a reduced interchange rate fee of 10 basis points for an eight month period, likely beginning mid-2013 and would apply to all card issuers. A few credit unions with active card programs would lose about $50 million in revenues or about 0.5 basis points on their total assets, CUNA said. The interchange revenue enables credit unions to provide card services to members; a temporary reduction in that revenue would not be passed on to consumers by merchants, CUNA said.

The motion to reconsider was brought by a group of merchants that oppose the settlement after the appellate court in December denied their earlier appeal of the preliminary approval by U.S. District Judge John Gleeson.  They include merchants such as Home Depot and organizations such as the National Association of Convenience Stores, National Cooperative Grocers Association, National Grocers Association, the National Restaurant Association, D'Agostino Supermarkets Inc., and more.

"We construe the motion for reconsideration as a motion to review a single-judge order," said the appellate court's order. "Upon due consideration, it is hereby ordered that the motion is denied. Any challenge to the final settlement agreement must be brought in a new notice of appeal. A new notice of appeal must be filed should any of the parties choose to appeal from the district court's final approval of the settlement agreement."


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