Central bank to 'massively' reduce banking charges

By SHARON WROBEL
February 8, 2007 07:26

Supervisor of Banks, Rony Hizkiyahu, asked the banks to provide blanket fee lists for household customers in an effort to "massively reduce" the number of fees the institutions charge and to improve their transparency.

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The new Supervisor of Banks, Rony Hizkiyahu, on Wednesday asked the banks to provide blanket fee lists for household customers in an effort to "massively reduce" the number of fees the institutions charge and to improve their transparency . "There is a certain problem of competition among the banks, which also affects the issue of bank fees and in particular the bank fees charged to households," said Hizkiyahu. "Customers have to be able to compare banks and fees and the way things are today, they don't have the information and they are not able to do that." Speaking at the first meeting of the parliamentary inquiry committee, which is led by the Knesset Finance Committee, Hizkiyahu said the process was not simple but that the Bank of Israel would force the banks to publish a special price list of fees they charge households. "The main point is, first of all, to massively reduce the number of fees, mainly regarding households. We recommend that a special pricing list be issued to households, so that at the end of the process we will come to have a single, uniform and transparent fee system," he said. Also speaking at the parliamentary inquiry committee chaired by MK Moshe Kahlon, the Director of the Association of Banks in Israel, Moshe Perl said that according to a survey carried out by the Association, 90 percent of households were paying less than NIS 20 in monthly fees for basic bank services. "It is true that there are 300 fees, but 90 percent of households do not pay more than 10 fees," he said. The figures on the charges households were paying for banking services showed that if inactive bank accounts were not taken into account, 40% of household bank customers were paying less than NIS 20 a month in fees, while 60% were paying less than NIS 40 a month in fees. "The widespread conception regarding bank fees for household customers is essentially mistaken," said Eitan Raff, president of the Association of Banks in Israel and chairman of Bank Leumi. Raff stressed that the banks would cooperate fully with the committee and help in providing all requested information.


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