Banks hit with 10.2 mln euros in fines

The Development Ministry has slapped 10.2 million euros in fines on 17 banks for «abusive» market practices, it said yesterday. The ministry, along with the General Secretariat for Consumers, said its checks found lenders were hitting customers with abusive charges when they withdrew cash on their credit cards. «Unfortunately banks, in certain circumstances, insist on implementing abusive practices and charging customers illegal commissions,» said Deputy Development Minister Giorgos Vlachos in a statement. «This behavior cannot be accepted… particularly in today’s economic conditions,» he added. Each of the 17 lenders were fined 600,000 euros. Along with penalizing state-controlled lenders National and ATEbank, the ministry said Piraeus, Alpha and Eurobank were also found guilty of treating consumers unfairly. Emporiki, a subsidiary of France’s Credit Agricole, and Citibank were also among those on the ministry’s blacklist. A senior bank source said the lenders will appeal the decision by taking the issue to court. The Development Ministry has come down on banks recently, instructing them to adhere to legal rulings and boost transparency for their customers.

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