Hatzidakis threatens banks with intervention unless they lower fees

Hatzidakis threatens banks with intervention unless they lower fees

The government has threatened banks with state intervention unless they reduce the fees they charge clients for various banking activities.

Speaking on Tuesday at the annual general assembly of the Hellenic Banks Association, Minister of National Economy and Finance Kostis Hatzidakis pointed out that the non-settlement of the issue of bank commissions helps neither the banks, nor the government, nor the society.

He went on to call on Greek banks to adopt fairer systems based on the practices of other European banks or businesses with large client networks in Greece, so that a government legislative intervention is not needed.

The minister also announced a small quantitative expansion of the “Hercules” program of nonperforming loans’ securitization, with the aim of further reducing bad loans.

He further spoke of a small time extension for the inclusion of self-employed and freelance professionals in the IRIS system, who have been notified by the tax administration (AADE) about their delay, given that the period of implementation of the measure coincided with the interconnection of cash registers with POS.

Credit sector priorities

Hatzidakis presented five priorities for the banking sector. They are: Supporting the sector continuously and with all available competition tools (referring specifically to the fifth systemic bank to be created through the absorption of Pancreta by Attica Bank); the settlement of all outstanding issues in relation to the “Hercules” program; stronger support for the real economy and especially for small and medium enterprises; further strengthening of transparency and fairness in commissaions; and rapid expansion of the IRIS direct payment system.

However, Hatzidakis underlined that the next step will be the extension of direct payments to all businesses and to the entire range of transactions, both in e-commerce and in stores, by March 2025.

“The government wants a robust banking system that acts as a driver of economic growth. However we also want a banking system with competition between banks. A banking system that will provide attractive returns to savers and liquidity to businesses and households,” noted the minister.

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