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Banks threatened with withdrawal fee caps

The Local · 19 Aug 2010, 08:24

Published: 19 Aug 2010 08:24 GMT+02:00

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Citing political sources, business daily Handelsblatt reported that the government was considering drafting a law to set maximum fees because it was growing tired of banks’ dithering over setting standard fees themselves. The opposition would support such an approach, the paper said.

The country’s savings banks, credit unions and private banks are supposed to present an agreement to reduce exorbitant cash machine fees by August 31, but appear unlikely to come up with a solution on their own.

The watchdog has for months been reviewing cash machine withdrawal fees, which average €5.64 but sometimes reach up to €10 in Germany, even though experts estimate each transaction costs the bank only €0.63. These fees are high compared with other countries, particularly for customers using an ATM belonging to another bank with whom their own bank does not have a partnership.

In July the Federal Cartel Office formally rejected a €5 fee limit by the leading banking association, the ZKA, telling them the amount was still too high.

The threat to legislate represents a forceful shot across the banking industry’s bow. Sources told Handelsblatt that federal Consumer Minister Ilse Aigner’s patience with the banks had all but run out.

The opposition Social Democrats are also in favour of an ultimatum to the banks.

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“Fees on withdrawals from other banks’ ATMs of €5 to €10 are not acceptable for customers,” Carsten Sieling, the deputy parliamentary leader for the left wing of the party, told Handelsblatt.

Fees needed to be standardized and lowered, “whether by self-regulation or, if necessary, by law,” Sieling added.

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

09:26 August 19, 2010 by William Thirteen
While normally one would hope that competition among the banks would lead to lowered fees in order to attract customers that mechanism seems to be failing in this case. It seems to be a typical lack of service mentality that marks so much of the German retail establishment. My only hope is that the government mandated rate will be quite low since the banks are sure to go as high they possibly can.
09:39 August 19, 2010 by 9900lawre
We pay a monthly fee for our banks to manage where and how we get our money etc. A fair fee.

If your not part of that bank then there should be a fair fee for you to use that banks facilities.

If the average customer gets charged 5euro per month to have 2000euro managed, then an outside customer should be only worrying about a 50cent fee for withdrawing 200euro.

That is what i call fair and proportionate.
09:48 August 19, 2010 by anurag_bagaria
Several times I have had a feeling that the banking and IT industry in India are far more advanced than here.

After similar resistances and talks between the government and different banking bodies it was decided that 5 transactions per month are allowed free of cost from all and any bank across the country and there after the banks could charge a fee from customers of non-partner banks.

I wonder if there is a way to convey this message to the concerned government policy makers and the bankers of this country too.
11:39 August 19, 2010 by amaticc
There are countries like The Netherlands, Belgium and Sweden where fees buy law for withdraw of cash from any ATM are ZERO.

And system works.
17:55 August 19, 2010 by Bushdiver
Next to the Finanzamt and Lawyers come the Banks. They are all crooks by nature. Did I forget to mention the gas prices as well. Funny how they always go up in price before weekends and holidays. I'm surprised the government lets them get away with an obvious rip-off. Then again, the government is collecting tax on each liter pumped.
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