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Soften impact of transaction fees, bank urged



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FEDERAL MINISTER FOR CONSUMER AFFAIRS

AND MINISTER ASSISTING THE TREASpRER FOR PRICES SENATOR NICK BOLKUS

COMMONWEALTH PARLIAMENTARY LIBRARY MICAH J

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SOFTEN IMPACT OF TRANSACTION FEES, BANK URGED

The Minister for Consumer Affairs, 'Senator Bolkus, today urged the Commonwealth Bank to make changes to its method of imposing transaction fees to lessen the burden on low income earners and the unemployed.

Senator Bolkus said he had written to Mr Don Sanders, the Managing Director of the Commonwealth, rejecting the Bank's claim that its exemptions and concessions went further than

those scheduled by other banks.

"In the past I have welcomed the Commonwealth's decision to have certain blanket exemptions from the fees, such as that applying to pensioners," said Senator Bolkus.

"But it is clear that other banks have different mechanisms which protect low income earners.

"The most significant of these are the exemption of passbook accounts from the fees and allowing a minimum number of 'free' transactions before the fees are imposed."

Senator Bolkus said that while other banks charged a relatively small fee - usually 25 or 30 cents - for each additional transaction, the Commonwealth's $1.50 charge was automatic for even one transaction if the average monthly account balance fell below $250.

"The Commonwealth also stands alone in charging the fees for savings account transactions from its automatic teller machines and from electronic funds transfer point of sale transactions," said Senator Bolkus.

"The Commonwealth at the very least should extend its exemptions to people in receipt of unemployment and sickness benefits and people on student allowances.

"And the Bank should also consider introducing a system of allowing a minimum number of 'free' transactions before the fees cut in."

Tuesday, February 14, 1989 Canberra.

PARL IAM ENT HOUSE, CANB ERRA_ AC.T. 2600 TEL: (062) 77 7380 FAX: (062) 73 4158