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Interim report shines light on uncompetitive banking practices

28 April, 2006

Sinn Féin Economy Spokesperson Mitchel McLaughlin MLA has welcomed the Competition Commission's Interim Report on Bank Charges. This came about as the result of an inquiry into personal banking charges following the 'super complaint' lodged by the General Consumer Council.

Mr McLaughlin said:

"The Competition Commission interim findings show that the banking market in the north of Ireland is uncompetitive. This is not acceptable. The onus is now on the banks to move, as a matter of urgency, to redress this situation. The banks have failed to give customers here a fair deal; it is time for them to act and put in place clear, transparent and long-term fair pricing arrangements that will benefit the consumer.

"A key issue is the need for transparency and accountability in how banks reach their costs that are then passed onto the customer.

"People in the north of Ireland already pay substantially more for our energy needs, insurance costs and general day-to-day necessities. It is unacceptable that we are being ripped off, yet again, by higher banking costs. These higher costs are, of course, in the context of generally lower wage levels for the six counties.

"I would also like to commend the General Consumer Council for the work they have done on behalf of consumers in highlighting the unacceptable charges imposed by the 'big 4' banks in the north of Ireland." ENDS

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