Bank Charges
JANUARY 16, 2009

The Malta Financial Services Authority (MFSA) has received complaints concerning tariffs that are being imposed by banks for banking services. It has also taken note of letters and comments regarding these tariffs which appeared in the local media.

Although the main function of the Authority is to regulate and supervise financial services in Malta, including banking services, it is also responsible for the promotion of the general interests and the legitimate expectations of consumers of financial services, and for the promotion of fair competition practices and consumer choice in financial services.

It is relevant to point out that financial institutions in Malta operate in a free market scenario, in compliance with laws, regulations and directives that regulate this sector in Europe, and in the best interests of the financial sector, their customers and shareholders.

Nevertheless, this does not inhibit the Authority from querying whether certain charges and tariffs for financial services are justified or not. There were other instances when the Authority requested the Office of Fair Competition to investigate the reasonableness of specific tariffs, particularly when these were introduced by institutions that enjoy a dominant position in the local market.

At this stage, the Authority is examining a number of tariffs that are being charged by financial institutions in the transfer of funds in foreign currency to or from Malta, as well as tariffs that are being requested when clients use online banking services.