TCF Bank Seeks Order Blocking Fee Caps to Process Debit Card Transactions

TCF National Bank has asked a U.S. appeals court for an order that would block federal regulations capping the amount of money the biggest U.S. banks can charge retailers for processing debit-card transactions.

The bank, a TCF Financial Corp. (TCB) unit that sued Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke, is challenging U.S. District Judge Lawrence L. Piersol’s April 4 decision denying its request to halt implementation of the rule.

The lender challenges legislation appended to last year’s Dodd-Frank financial regulation overhaul bill. The provision, sponsored by U.S. Senator Richard Durbin, an Illinois Democrat, and known as the Durbin Amendment, bars banks with more than $10 billion in assets from collecting from retailers more money for debit-card transactions than the actual cost of providing that service.

“We are talking about the establishment of a confiscatory rate regime fully 15 years after banks began their debit businesses,” TCF’s attorneys argued in their brief filed today with the St. Louis-based U.S. Court of Appeals.

Matt Miller, a Justice Department spokesman, didn’t immediately return a call seeking comment.

TCF has argued that the proposed fee cap, which isn’t yet in force, is unconstitutional.

After an April 4 hearing in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, Piersol denied the bank’s motion to stop the rule on rates. The judge also denied a government request to dismiss the case outright.

TCF Financial is based in Wayzata, Minnesota.

The lower case is TCF National Bank v. Bernanke, 10-cv- 04149, U.S. District Court, District of South Dakota (Sioux Falls). The appellate case is TCF National Bank v. Bernanke, 11- 1805, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit (St. Louis).

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