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Bank must clean up fees next year

End your excess and abuse by clarifying, reducing and publishing your charges, finance minister tells French banks

21 September 2010

BANK fees should be simplified to stop abusive and excessive charges, says the finance minister.

Banks will be forced to standardise and reduce their charge sheets.

"There are banks today with charge sheets with more than 300 different fees listed," said Finance Minister Christine Lagarde.

A monthly statement of fees charged is among the proposals put forward by the Finance Ministry.

"I believe in the principles of competition; in time the fees will drop," said Ms Lagarde.

However, she stopped short of introducing a law to force banks to adopt new measures, adding that the government could resort to this if banks do not cooperate.

A list of 10 standard services will be created to make comparisons easier.

To protect some users, the government wants to create "security packs" that would prevent people from using cards to become overdrawn and reduced charges for not having the funds to back a cheque.

French banks were criticised for their charges by an EC investigation last year whose experts claimed that even they had been left baffled by the array of fees.

Consumer association UFC-Que Choisir had put forward many of the ideas now taken up by the government, but wanted to see them enforced by law.
The first measures should be seen next year.

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Wolfgang Kraus -

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