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Carter Dougherty
Bloomberg|bloomberg.com

WASHINGTON — The Senate on Tuesday confirmed Richard Cordray as director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, ending a nearly three-year fight that cast a pall over the agency created by the 2010 Dodd-Frank Act.

The 66-34 vote lifts the threat of legal challenges to the bureau’s rules and enforcement actions since some of the agency’s powers, including those over non-bank financial firms, take effect only under a confirmed director.

“The political stalemate is over,” said Sen. Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts Democrat who conceived the idea for the agency and was President Obama’s first choice to lead it. “There is no doubt the consumer agency will survive beyond the crib.” read more »

 

Banks and payment networks are pressing state lawmakers to bar retailers from charging customers more to pay with credit cards than with debit cards or cash.

The laws’ supporters say they are trying to protect consumers from unfair costs when they make purchases with credit cards. Utah has already passed a law banning such surcharges, and New Jersey may follow suit. In all, about 20 state legislatures are weighing legislation related to payment cards, according to the American Bankers Association.

The move for state laws is an extension of a decade-long fight between retailers including Home Depot, Walmart and Target, and members of the payments industry, including JPMorgan Chase, the biggest U.S. credit-card lender, and Visa and Mastercard, the largest networks, over “swipe” fees for debit and credit cards. Because retailers generally have to pay more to banks when their customers use credit cards than when they buy with debit cards, the banks are trying to prevent stores from steering buyers to debit transactions. read more »

 
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