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Bank Charges

Volume 958: debated on Thursday 16 November 1978

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asked the Secretary of State for Prices and Consumer Protection if he will list the action taken by his Department on the recommendations of the Price Commission on banking charges for money transmission services, Official Report 134.

Following discussions with the Committee of London Clearing Banks and other interested parties, my right hon. Friend announced on 21st September his conclusions on the Price Commission report on bank charges for money transmission services. A copy of his announcement has been placed in the Library.While the report contained no advice on which statutory action to restrict prices could be based, it put forward a number of important suggestions which have been considered in detail with the banks and other bodies concerned. Certain banks have already announced changes in their methods of setting charges to bring them more in line with the Commission's proposals. Government Departments have been reminded of the need to obtain competitive quotations. The Treasury is in contact with the Trustee Savings Bank central board on proposals of concern to it, while the Bank of England is discussing with the clearing banks the Commission's observations on admission to the bankers' clearing house and cash distribution arrangements. The Committee of London Clearing Banks has established a committee to consider the comparability of accounts and disclosure of bad and doubtful debts, and its conclusions will be reported to the Department of Trade.The question of jointly negotiated tariffs has been referred to the Director General of Fair Trading. The banks and their associations continue to review the scope for flexibility in opening hours. I note with interest that the Midland Bank has recently announced plans for evening opening in particular circumstances, and that Barclays Bank is experimenting with Saturday opening in specific areas.