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Banks told to slash charges

Banks told to slash charges

Πηγή Φωτογραφίας: Cristo Rey

Finance Ministry tells lenders to reduce their commissions on 12 categories of transactions

The government has asked local banks to review 12 categories of commission charged on transactions and banking services, with the aim of reducing the costs clients face.

These are charges that concern electronic transactions, such as sending money directly via the internet or mobile banking, which carries a 4-5-euro charge, or withdrawing cash through another bank’s ATM, which costs up to €2.50, but also charges imposed on a range of services, such as the cost of evaluating applications for the issue of a mortgage, for example, which is close to €500. That does not include the costs of legal and technical control, which raise the bill by another €500 for borrowers who resort to banks for financing.

As far as existing loans are concerned, the cost of examining a request for a copy of a loan agreement normally costs €50, while the cost of issuing a bank statement costs €20 euros – and the list is long.

The review of charges was requested at the urging of Finance Minister Christos Staikouras and is part of the agenda of the ministry’s discussions with the banks for the facilitation and relief of borrowers, set as a priority by Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis.

For instance, bank charges for transferring money between two banks is exorbitant in relation to the general trend in the field of electronic transactions, which favors payments, not only by credit or debit card, but the direct transfer of money between accounts from bank to bank. The average cost in Greece is close to €3, if the transaction is not done immediately, and €4-5 if the transaction is executed immediately.

In addition, the imposition of a fee for incoming and outgoing remittances is a typical case of distortion, which essentially constitutes a double charge for the same transaction and is a European first. Banks have applied the logic of incoming and outgoing remittance not only to the old transactions of this type, which were executed with a time delay of two to three days, but also for credit transfers through direct payment – i.e. in a few seconds – for which the cost based on the invoices is between €2 and €2.5.

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