DPP urges for transparency of banking fees

By Ted Chen ,The China Post

TAIPEI, Taiwan — An opposition party lawmaker said on Saturday that the public should not be subject to wide disparities in fees imposed by Taiwan’s banks, and claimed that a lack of regulatory action by governing bodies was to blame. In a press release published on Satuday, Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lee Ying-yuan (李應元) said that wire transfer fees may vary as much as threefold among Taiwan’s banks, with many providing preferential treatment to customers based on the frequency and volume of individual customers’ transactions. Lee railed against the Financial Supervisory Commission (FSC, 金管會), saying that in the name of free market competition, regulators have become complacent enough to let banks set fees independently. As a result, some consumers have found themselves subject to exorbitant fees, particularly when they are pressed for time and cannot conduct comparative research to find the best option, said Lee. The situation is especially unfavorable for consumers, as the need for wire transfers often arise during unexpected emergencies, Lee said.

In response, the FSC stated that it has in the past required the banking industry to establish a standardized pricing structure for routine services, such as the replacement of lost credit cards. However, as wire transfers require costly counter-side service at banks, it would be inappropriate for regulators to mandate a standardized pricing structure, said the FSC. The FSC remains of the opinion that banks should be allowed to set their own fees according to standards of services provided.

The FSC stated that it has instructed banks to provide more comprehensive and transparent listings of fees, in order to allow consumers to make the most informed decisions.