Monday, September 11, 2006

Revisiting the Merchant Interchange Complaint (

What about the banks?

Among the nearly 500 previous news and commentary postings, Visa® and MasterCard® make up much of the discussion. But, make no mistake, it is also the largest banks which we assert also unlawfully fix the fees charged to merchants for transactions
over their Visa® and Mastercard® Networks.

According to the amended complaint filing, their restrictions prevent merchants from protecting ourselves against these interchange fees. "Visa and Mastercard [pre-IPO] are not single entities; they are consortiums of competitors. They are owned and effectively operated by over 22,000 banks."

The merchant discount payment card interchange fee antitrust litigation includes several leading other defendants. From time to time we want to remind our readers of who the other defendants are as well; each are also member banks of the Visa® and Mastercard® networks.

As identified in the complaint filing, "many of the bank defendants are, or were during the relevant period, represented on the Visa and or Mastercard Boards of Directors at the times when those Boards collectively fixed uniform Interchange fees and imposed the anticompetitive anti-steering restraints and merchant restraints, tying and bundling arrangements, and exclusive-dealing. ...The bank defendants delegated to the Visa and Mastercard Boards of Directors the authority to take those actions. Each of the bank defendants had actual knowledge of, participated in, and consciously committed itself to the conspiracies..."

Listing of additional banking defendants:

Bank of America, N.A®
MBNA America Bank, N.A®
Barclays Bank Limited®
Capital One Bank®
Chase Bank USA®
Citibank N.A®
Fifth Third Bancorp®
First National Bank of Omaha®
National City Corporation®
SunTrust Banks, Inc®
Texas Independent Bancshares, Inc.®
Wachovia Bank, N.A.®
Washington Mutual, Inc.®
Providian National Bank®
Wells Fargo & Company®

[Commentary:, background from the amended complaint filing]