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Sinn Féin welcome OFT investigation into bank charges

15 November, 2004

Sinn Féin Finance Spokesperson, Mid Ulster MLA Cllr Francie Molloy has welcomed the announcement that the Office of Fair Trading to investigate the operation of bank charges by all of the four main banks operating in the Six Counties.

Mr Molloy said:

"Excessive and unregulated charging by banks eats into the pockets of everyone. Of course people accept that there are legitimate charges but what is unacceptable is excessive charging to boost bank and shareholder profits.

"Excessive charges hit struggling small businesses just as they impact badly on people on low incomes. With the move to benefits and pensions being paid through banks it is vital that bank charges are properly regulated and that banks are forced to stop charging people for basic services.

"Banks are moving into a position where they can do what they want and there is little provision for the thousands of people who are dependent on their services. It is unacceptable that this relationship is allowed to go unchallenged. There needs to be clear cut guidelines for how and when banks charge and a recognition on the part of banks that there are situation when they should not levy charges. This is particularly true in relation to accounts used by people on benefits and in receipt of state pensions." ENDS

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