ASEAN KEY DESTINATIONS
Thai banks move a little on fees
Bank executives met with Bank of Thailand governor Tarisa Watanagase on Thursday to discuss fees on financial services.
Chim Tantiyaswasdikul, assistant governor for the central bank's IT Group, said they agreed on a single tier for electronic interbank transfers.
Transfers will now carry a single charge of 12 baht for amounts below 2 million baht. Banks had previously imposed a three-tier fee, ranging from 12 baht for transactions up to 100,000 baht to 100 baht for amounts of 500,001 to 2 million.
The fee cut is part of an ongoing discussion about developing the country's payments system. The fee cuts, which are expected to cost banks 100 million baht a year in lost revenues, take effect December 15.
Fee income has jumped sharply in recent years, raising the ire of consumer advocates and policymakers worried that collusion within the country's tightly-knit banking community was limiting competition at the expense of the public.
The central bank also pressed for lower rates for three other types of transactions: interprovincial deposits and withdrawals at branch counters, interprovincial check deposits and ATM bank transfers.
Banks charge 10 baht for interprovincial deposits and withdrawals up to 10,000 baht at branch counters, plus one to 10 baht for each additional 1,000 baht. Other charges are imposed for interprovincial transfers, such as a 10- to 50-baht fee for transactions from a savings to a checking account.
Cross-provincial cheque deposits cost 10 baht for each 10,000 baht, and a 20-baht fee to cash a cheque. ATM transfers from one bank to another cost 25 baht for the first 10,000 baht, and 35 baht for transfers from 10,000 to 30,000.
Mr Chim said regulators wanted local banks to scrap all fees for cross-province transactions, with the whole country considered a single area. Banks have been asked to respond by September 20.
The three categories targeted produce banks about 10 billion baht a year.
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