Russian c.bank to review banks’ plans for FX account fees

A general view shows the headquarters of the Central Bank in Moscow January 30, 2015. REUTERS//File Photo

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June 10 (Reuters) – Russia’s central bank said on Friday it would investigate the legality of some banks’ plans to impose fees on foreign currency accounts, warning that lenders should not make terms worse for existing customers .

Some major Russian banks plan to charge fees on retail accounts in dollars and euros after authorities floated the idea of ​​negative interest rates for foreign currency deposits from corporate clients of the banks, sparking anger among customers . Read more

The central bank said it understood banks’ concerns about the risks of foreign currency transactions, but said it would take supervisory action if lenders were found to have breached contracts with their actions .

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Unilateral changes to the terms and conditions of a bank deposit agreement that shorten its term, reduce interest or introduce fees are a violation of banking laws, the central bank said in a statement.

“Thus, banks cannot impose fees on already opened foreign currency accounts,” he said, adding that banks can refuse to offer foreign currency products to customers.

The central bank said in late May that the share of foreign currency liabilities of Russian banks had recently declined as customers stepped up withdrawals of funds from their foreign currency accounts, while the share of banks’ foreign currency assets had increased. Read more

The bank then said that Russia could consider imposing negative interest rates on deposits held in dollars and euros, specifying that these discussions only concerned foreign currency deposits of corporate customers with banks, not those particular customers.

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Reuters reporting; edited by David Evans

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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