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Paying Extra Charges for Nothing

Harry C. Alford | 8/23/2012, 4:32 p.m.

The class representative plaintiffs, their counsel and the court appointed co-lead class counsel had every opportunity to shape this deal over seven years of litigation and mediation. It appears to me that they ultimately signed on because they felt this was in the best interests of all retailers, large and small alike.

As I see it, this settlement resolves all interchange disputes - both those in the past and on a go-forward basis. As with any settlement of class action litigation, it's a process and several additional steps must occur before the agreement is actually implemented. This settlement is a final and binding agreement on all parties. Those who signed the final agreement are now compelled, through their signatures, to ask for the judge to approve it. And there is nothing to suggest that the judge would reject this agreement, which has been in development for many years. In fact, recent analyst reports by Keefe, Bruyette & Woods and Citi Research find that even if some of the class participants formally opt-out of the agreement, this is extremely unlikely to derail the interchange settlement.

Now that both industries have willingly endorsed this agreement, it shows that no further government intervention is necessary - the case is in fact closed.

Harry Alford is the co-founder, president/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce. Website: www.nationalbcc.org. Email: halford@nationalbcc.org.

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