The Banking Supervision Department announces further measures regarding banking fees

Banking supervision draft (Hebrew)

Draft from Banking supervisor (Hebrew)

The Banking Supervision Department today announced further measures regarding banking fees, which are intended to implement the recommendations of the Team to Examine How to Increase Competitiveness in the Banking System and to increase the power of households and small businesses.  The measures are part of an amendment to the Banking (Service to the Customer)(Fees) Rules, 5768–2008, and the publication of a Supervisory Order.
 
This amendment joins another amendment that was recently published (and came into effect in February 2015), which led to the cancellation of a number of fees collected from banking corporation customers, including the direct channel fee for a charge to a debit card, the fee for printing a confirmation of ownership of an account (one confirmation per year), housing loan management fees, deferred payment fees collected for deferred payment transactions on payment cards, and others.
 
The following are the main points of the amendments:
 
v  Declaration of the fee for notices as a supervised fee, and setting the maximum fee at NIS 5.  This amendment implements a recommendation of the Team to Examine How to Increase Competitiveness in the Banking System.  The Team determined that due to the high price of the service for sending notices at some of the banks (prices ranging from NIS 20 to NIS 90 per notice), and in view of the fact that this is a service that the customer can obtain only at the bank at which he manages his account, it should be declared a supervised service pursuant to Section 9k(a)(2) of the Banking (Service to the Customer) Law, 5741–1981, and if the banks do not act to lower the price of the service, then the price of the service should also be set.  In accordance with the amendment, the maximum price for this service (sending notices and warnings of late payments), which is supposed to reflect direct expenses for printing and sending the notice, shall not exceed NIS 5 per notice.
v  Cancellation of the charge fee for a depositor of a check that bounces.  The amendment sets out that the banking corporation shall not be permitted to charge the depositor of a check a “fee for the depositor of a bounced check”.  Currently, a customer is charged such a fee when a check deposited into his account bounces and is not honored, regardless of the reason for the return of the check.  This is because, in general, the depositor of a check has no defense against a bounced check, and because in most cases, he is not even credited by the person paying him through the check for the amount of the fee (in cases where the check bounces for reasons dependent on the payer).
v  Non-collection of debit card fees for a customer who holds a credit card.  In conjunction with the recommendations and measures to introduce debit cards in Israel and to increase competition in the field of debit cards, as part of the final report published on February 10, 2015, a banking corporation shall not be permitted to collect card fees for a debit card it has issued to a customer who also holds a credit card issued by the same banking corporation.  This amendment is intended to encourage the distribution of debit cards among customers, inter alia to serve as an alternative to cash payments.
v  Foreign currency transactions and foreign currency withdrawals abroad. As part of the amendment to the Banking Rules published on January 29, 2015, a change has been made to the fees collected from card holders for foreign currency transactions and for foreign currency withdrawals abroad.  The current amendment completes the process begun with the previous amendment, to make it easier and simpler for customers to compare, and mainly provides credit card companies with the ability to set separate rates for these services by distinguishing between major currencies—US dollar and euro—as one rate and the other currencies as another rate.  Due to this amendment, the effective date of the previous amendment is being delayed to July 1, 2015.
 
Supervisor of Banks David Zaken said: “The Banking Supervision Department continues to adopt measures with the aim of improving the customer’s ability to compare and of increasing fairness and competitiveness in the banking system.”