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(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
The Knesset on Wednesday unanimously passed the preliminary reading of a private bank fee regulation bill, which would bring bank charges under the supervision of the Bank of Israel, amid continued government delays in submitting its own bill proposal.
"The bank fee bill, which is based on the Bank of Israel proposal for the supervision of bank fees, was presented to the Finance Ministry a couple of months ago as a basis for the submission of a government bill proposal within two weeks. But since then some time has passed and the government has not presented its proposal," said MK Amnon Cohen, one the initiators of the private bank fee supervision bill together with MK Moshe Kahlon, chairman of the Knesset inquiry committee on bank fees, and MK Gilad Erdan.
Under the central bank's plan, the country's chief banking regulator would be empowered to supervise fees when he believes they "reduce competition" or are for an "essential service" connected to a checking account.
The proposed law, among other things, would reduce the number of charges and force banks to create a common fee structure under which charges for services are called by the same names from bank to bank. It also would lower costs for moving accounts between competing banks.
One of the central bank's proposals, for example, would define all of the day-to-day services associated with managing a checking account - such as deposits into and withdrawals from the account, standing orders and direct debits - as one single service.
Following the preliminary reading, the private bank fee supervision bill will be discussed and voted on in the Knesset Economics Committee before moving on to second and third readings in the Knesset.
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