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Inside Washington (12/20/2010)
* WASHINGTON (12/21/10)--Under the Federal Reserve’s proposed debit rules it is exclusivity arrangements rather than interchange pricing that remains unresolved for payment networks, including market leaders Visa Inc. and MasterCard Inc. When the Fed proposed a 12-cent limit on debit interchange fees Thursday, it said it seeks comments on two options that would create exclusive arrangements between issuers and networks. Under either arrangement, smaller PIN-debit networks would benefit at the expense of Visa and MasterCard. Jason Kupferberg, an analyst with UBS Securities, said observers thought that the Fed’s proposal would bring more clarity on exclusivity than on interchange, but just the opposite has occurred (American BankerDec. 20). Most of Visa’s and MasterCard’s revenue is derived from network fees that issuers pay them to carry their brands and process their transactions. “The proposed routing and exclusivity alternatives put retailer profits ahead of consumer protection, choice and convenience,” Visa said in press release issued Thursday … * WASHINGTON (12/21/10)--The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has broadened its investigation into the mortgage industry, inquiring with big banks about the early stages of the securitization process of home loans. The SEC issued subpoenas to Bank of America Corp, Citigroup Inc., JPMorgan Chase & Co., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Wells Fargo & Co., the sources said. The SEC’s inquiry began earlier this year when it looked into the foreclosure practices of big banks following allegations that mortgage servicers used inadequate paperwork to evict delinquent borrowers from their homes. Now the SEC is investigating how those mortgages were packaged for sale to investors …


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