HOT TOPICS:   Migration  |  KiwiSaver   | Home loans                                                         RESOURCES:    Economic calendar   |   QROPS fees

Find your KiwiSaver fund

The comment stream

Reader poll

Greens co-leader backs class action over bank fees, offers Member's Bill ensuring basic fee-free banking services

Posted in Personal Finance

Co-leader Russel Norman says the Green Party supports class action against "unfair" bank fees and he has prepared a Member's Bill that would ensure banks offer a basic fee-free banking service.

Norman threw the Greens backing behind the legal action launched by New Zealand lawyer Andrew Hooker, Australian class action experts Slater & Gordon, and Aussie litigation funder Litigation Lending Services over up to NZ$1 billion worth of bank fees they maintain were unlawful. And on top of this Norman said the Greens had "ready legislation" to ensure future bank fees were fair and transparent.

"The legislation, in the form of a Member's Bill, will ensure that banks offer a basic fee-free banking service, that bank fees are fair and reflect the actual costs involved, and make the Reserve Bank responsible for the oversight of bank fee charges," said Norman.

"I strongly support the class action announced today to recoup excessive bank default fees," said Norman. "The fact that bank fees remain so high is another indication of the lack of competition in our banking sector."

He maintains that, on average, New Zealanders are paying at least NZ$200 a year on bank fees.

"The exact amount is unknown, however. Unlike Australia, our Reserve Bank does not have oversight of this aspect of banking activity or report regularly on bank fees," said Norman.

"I have drafted legislation that will ensure banks offer a basic fee-free banking service, require real time warnings of impending bank fees, and require the Reserve Bank to ensure all bank fees are fair and reflect the actual costs of services provided."

A basic fee-free service must include basic transaction services, internet access to the account, and an EFTPOS/debit card, Norman said. The account must be free of ongoing service fees such as monthly account service fees and penalty fees for actions and transgressions of third parties.

"The legislation also requires banks to disclose all relevant cost information to the Reserve Bank to allow it to determine the fairness of any bank fee charged. Banks would have to offer real-time warnings of fees before a proposed internet, electronic, or face-to-face transaction is finalised. This will give customers the opportunity to discontinue," said Norman.

 

 

We welcome your help to improve our coverage of this issue. Any examples or experiences to relate? Any links to other news, data or research to shed more light on this? Any insight or views on what might happen next or what should happen next? Any errors to correct?

We welcome your comments below. If you are not already registered, please register to comment in the box on the right or click on the "'Register" link at the bottom of the comments.

Remember we welcome robust, respectful and insightful debate. We don't welcome abusive or defamatory comments and will de-register those repeatedly making such comments. Our current Comment policy is here.

7 Comments

Are the Greens in touch with

Are the Greens in touch with anything in the real world  ?
Some banks are offering amost zero fees anyway
My bank account attracts almost no fees , as long as I dont  want a paper based statement
While I agree that bank fees should be transparent ,  we must recognise that a Bank is just like any other business , it has to make a profit , lend carefully , and take care of depositors funds, and the onus on them to be responsible corporate citizens is greater than almost any other business 

I agree - the only fees I pay

I agree - the only fees I pay are for my credit card, and that's because I chose a card where the rewards outweigh the fee.
Anyone paying $200 a year in fees needs to change the relationship with their bank or change the way they interact with their bank

Regulate lawyers' fees! They

Regulate lawyers' fees!
They have been out of hand for way too long, and they charge way too much!!
HGW

Ha, another bandwagon for

Ha, another bandwagon for Labour and the Greens to jump on. How many is that now?

Cash costs money to make but

Cash costs money to make but is free to the user. Lots of leglislation about legal tender etc.
Electronic money should be cheaper to make but is not free to the user in all cases. Not so much leglislation about legal tender etc.
What is that about?

Russel is on the cusp of

Russel is on the cusp of getting it, but yet again falls short.
 
Fees are actually perfectly reasonable as a way of deriving income from a service, it is the interest that is totally immoral.