Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Questions (165)

Seán Sherlock


165. Deputy Sean Sherlock asked the Minister for Finance the engagement he has had with banks in regard to persons accessing their statements without being charged. [9473/18]

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Written answers (Question to Finance)

All credit institutions in Ireland are independent commercial entities and I have no statutory role in relation to the charges applied by credit instructions. Section 149 of the Consumer Credit Act 1995 came into effect in May 1996 and requires that credit institutions and bureaux de change notify the Central Bank if they wish to:

- Introduce any new customer ‘charge’ for providing a service, or

- Increase any existing customer ‘charge’ for providing a service.

‘Service’ means any service provided by a credit institution to a customer in respect of the following:

- Making and receiving payments;

- Providing foreign exchange facilities;

- Providing and granting credit; or

- Maintaining and administrating transaction accounts.

Should a credit institution wish to impose a new charge or increase an existing charge (should an existing charge be in place) for a statement on an account falling within the definition of a service, that credit institution would require approval by the Central Bank, before imposing that charge on customers.

All regulated entities are required to comply with the Central Bank’s Consumer Protection Code 2012 (the Code). The Code provides that a regulated entity must ensure that in all its dealings with customers and within the context of its authorisation it makes full disclosure of all relevant material information, including all charges, in a way that seeks to inform the customer. The regulated entities ‘terms of business’ document as required by the Code must include a general statement of the charges imposed directly by the regulated entity. Prior to providing a product or service to a consumer, a regulated entity must provide the consumer, on paper or another durable medium, with a breakdown of all charges which will be passed on to the consumer. A regulated entity must display in its public offices a schedule of their fees and charges, and this schedule must also be placed on its website.

A regulated entity must inform a consumer that he or she may request statements to be provided on paper, and provide the statements if requested. In relation to all term and notice deposit accounts with a balance in excess of €20, a credit institution must provide the consumer with an annual statement. An annual statement must also be provided for loans and investment products.