A safety net for vulnerable groups of society against bank charges is currently under review by parliament with the House Institutions Committee studying all legal weapons to be used.
The specific issue was discussed on Wednesday in the presence of Central Bank of Cyprus Governor Constantinos Herodotou who briefed MPs on actions taken by the supervisory body as regards bank charges on basic services.
“Finance Minister Constantinos Petrides himself has said in a letter that he is ready to issue a decree (on this) following a study carried out by the Central Bank based on all provisions of the law,” Herodotou said.
Senior Ministry of Finance officer Dionysis Dionysiou confirmed the Minister’s readiness to issue a decree on excessive charges applied by banks.
Herodotou also told Committee members that the Central Bank has contacted Eurozone central banks to find out their policy on bank charges.
And that they have summed up a series of preliminary measures to be recommended to the Minister of Finance.
Legislation that gives the Minister of Finance the power to intervene with a decree to protect vulnerable groups regulates comparability of fees.
Specifically, the law states that in the event that the Central Bank considers that bank fees are unreasonable, it shall make a substantiated recommendation to the Minister of Finance, taking into account at least the following criteria: National income levels, average credit charges institutions in the Republic for the services provided in relation to payment accounts.
The law states that “The Minister may, by Decree published in the Official Gazette of the Republic, ask credit institutions to apply different pricing systems depending on the level of consumer integration in the banking system, which may allow, in particular, more favourable conditions towards vulnerable consumers.”
The law also states that the Minister shall ensure that consumers are given guidance as well as relevant information on available options.