New measures to audit banking fees take effect
ISTANBUL - Anadolu Agency
The association determined that changes in interest rates and fees would have to be declared to customers at least 30 days ahead as of Sept 1. DHA PhotoA series of measures introduced by the Turkish Banks Association (TBB) to make banks’ commission and fee collection more transparent will be implemented as of Sept. 1, as the latest step toward ending banks’ undeserved gains.
The newly introduced measures that are aimed at informing and consulting the customers before the imposition of new commission items will make the lenders more accountable for their actions as well.
The banks are forced to prepare detailed forms on each of their services, according to the new rules disclosed to the banks by the association. The forms will include the interest rates, fee tariffs, the validity period of the service and the principles of the potential changes.
The association also determined that changes in interest rates and fees would have to be declared to customers at least 30 days ahead. The customers would have 15 days to review the new tariff and to decide whether to give up using the service or product.
The banks will be responsible for making an additional notice for the fees, expenses or commissions that had raised by more than 20 percent within a calendar year.
The banks have been under fire because of their revenues in the form of commissions and fees.
The government, led by the Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has been publicly panning the private lenders, accusing them of exploiting “the poor” thorough unfair means.
Punishment without court
In addition to easing the customers’ access to information related to non-interest fees, the bureaucratic complaint and punishment processes will be shortened and facilitated as well under the new practices.
“When a bank is found guilty of violating the contract terms by the Turkish Banking Association, a fine will be imposed on it by the management board of the association without the need for legal process,” the TBB notice read.
Another institution for dealing with customer-bank conflicts will be the Arbitration Boards, to be newly made of the representatives of the banks. The banks are forced to obey these boards’ decision of imposing fines up to 2,000 liras.
While the banks are bound by the board decisions, the judicial option will always be open for customers.
Banks’ non-interest revenue items, which numbered 31 last year, have more than doubled in a year and now stand at 65. Non-interest revenues have also jumped by 19.4 percent, surpassing 11 billion Turkish Liras.