A lawmaker on Monday criticized seven banks’ wire transfer fee increases that they said were needed to offset the costs of heightened money laundering controls, increases that ranged from 25 to 36 percent.
At a meeting of the Legislative Yuan’s Finance Committee, New Power Party Legislator Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明) said that First Commercial Bank (第一銀行) and Taiwan Cooperative Bank (合庫銀行) in June raised their fees for foreign currency remittance services to NT$300, while Chang Hwa Commercial Bank (彰化銀行) and Taiwan Business Bank (台企銀) followed suit in August and this month respectively.
Hua Nan Commercial Bank (華南銀行) announced a fee hike to be implemented next month, while Mega International Commercial Bank (兆豐銀行) and Bank of Taiwan (台灣銀行) this month raised their fees for outward remittances to NT$120, Hsu added.
The seven state-run banks have been abusing their customers with excessive fee hikes, Hsu said, adding that the public should not bear the cost, even if the banks spent money upgrading their money laundering control protocols.
Fifteen banks have also raised fees on reviewing past credit card statements to between NT$50 and NT$100 per request, Hsu said, questioning why the banks could charge for what should be a basic customer right.
Hsu said that reviewing credit card statements is unrelated to efforts to improve money laundering prevention and that banks have been using the issue to raise their fees for basic services.
He also said that a number of banks have colluded to raise fees simultaneously.
The Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC) said it would look into the matter.
While banks have been asked to devote resources to upgrade their “know-your-customer” checks and other verification systems, they also need to be more transparent about their fee structures, Banking Bureau Director-General Jean Chiu (邱淑貞) said.
FSC Chairman Wellington Koo (顧立雄) said that he agrees with Hsu that the banks’ charge for accessing credit card statements was not reasonable, and vowed that the commission would investigate the fee hikes and take action if they are found to be unreasonable.
Facing the rapidly evolving global COVID-19 pandemic, Citibank Taiwan Ltd (台灣花旗) has proactively taken precautionary measures. “The health and safety of our colleagues and their families, as well as our clients and the communities we serve, are of the utmost importance. We continue to take proactive measures to preserve their well-being while we maintain our ability to serve our clients,” Citibank Taiwan chairman Paulus Mok (莫兆鴻) said in a statement yesterday. “We have local and regional contingency plans in place, and we have well-established business continuity plans for the firm. We are monitoring the situation closely, adjusting our operations accordingly,
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