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Investigation of Hidden Bank Charges

26 April, 2007

Sinn Féin Foyle MLA Raymond McCartney has given a guarded welcome to a new wide-ranging study into the charges banks imposed on customers. The study has been undertaken by The Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

Mr McCartney said:

"There has been a worry for some time about the hidden costs banks often charge customers. There is a clear need for greater transparency across a wide range of banking services. Many customers have no idea how much they are really paying for their banking services.

"In many instances customers are being hit with hidden cross subsidies and charges. Only recently we had the findings here by the Consumer Council on bank charges. It found that bank customers in the North may have paid out up to £210m in unauthorised overdraft charges in the past six years. This shows the importance of customers regularly checking and querying their bank statements.

"The OFT have said that this will be the most wide-ranging study into personal banking to date. My only worry about this investigation, is that if the banks are found to be overcharging and the OFT request that new guidelines are brought in that banks may be tempted to do away with any form of free banking particularly for customers with current accounts." ENDS

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