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Labor calls on banks to follow UK lead on ATM fees.

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Labor Calls On Banks To Follow UK Lead On ATM Fees Stephen Conroy - Shadow Minister for Financial Services

Media Statement - 5 July 2000

Senator Stephen Conroy, Shadow Minister for Financial Services and Regulation has called on Australia's banks to follow the lead of the UK's major banks who yesterday agreed to drop plans to introduce new ATM fees following outrage from UK consumers.

Barclays, Lloyds TSB and HSBC, the three major banks in the UK, have dropped plans to introduce charges of up to £1 ($2.50) to withdraw cash from an ATM. The banks had also planned to charge a 'disloyalty fee' of up to £1.50 when customers use another bank's ATM.

"How can it be that in a country which has a similar banking system to ours, banks are not charging their customers for accessing their own cash from an ATM while in Australia we are being charged up to $1.50? The answer is that we have been ripped off by our banks,' said Senator Conroy.

"Why is it that when the introduction of new technology is driving the price of many consumer goods and services down, banking services are costing more? The lesson from the UK is that we should not have these fees at all," said Senator Conroy.

A report by Cannex (Aust) Pty Ltd released in March revealed that charges to withdraw cash from ATMs from a customer's own bank went up 21% in the last year while charges to withdraw cash from an 'other bank' ATM went up 28%.

"I would suggest that while the Prime Minister is in London that he takes a good look at what is happening in the UK banking system and comes back to Australia with a plan to actually make our banks deliver on their social obligations."

Authorised by Geoff Walsh, 19 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600.