Bank charges not “excessive or abusive” says APB

 In Associations, Banks, News

The Portuguese Banking Association has warned the Portuguese Parliament that prohibiting (further) bank charges could violate the constitution while sidelining the Bank of Portugal.

The association that represents Portugal’s banking sector states the prohibition could also act as a disincentive to innovation and reduce offer in the medium term. The APB blames increases in bank charges on lawmakers and says it is ignoring the role of the Bank of Portugal in the matter.
In a long explanation sent to the Commission of Budget and Finances which is preparing new limitations on bank charges, the APB says that the proposed laws from the ruling PS socialist party and PAN party which want to end some bank charges to do with mortgages, in addition to other changes in bank charges “lack foundation in facts in law”.
In relation to the facts, the APB contests the idea that the banks practise charges that are “disproportional”, “excessive” or “abusive”, which are some of the adjectives found in the proposed law currently under discussion in the Portuguese parliament.
“Imposing prohibitions in bank charges for services provided by the banks to a vast range of bank customers (without having demonstrated any special needs to support those customers), would not in the end be justified given the social function of the banks. Instead it would be a very real restriction on the free economic initiative of the banks, susceptible to violating the structural norms of the national constitutional framework,” says the APB led by Vítor Bento.
“Despite it being recognised by all, including the sector, that the level of bank charges has increased over the past decade, it seems clear to us to recognise that the increases would never permit, solely in themselves, to reach a conclusion that there has been a disproportional or abusive increase, or that the current level of charges is not in line with the real cost of services for which they (customers) pay, or with the level of bank charges (levied) in other European states.”

Photo: Lusa- André Kosters