08.08.10 20:24 Age: 8 yrs
ATM fee get a unanimous raise, new regulations expected to be released
In this July, a number of Chinese banks raised the ATM withdrawal fee to 4 Yuan in uniform. Without any notice to the public, the sudden increase in the bank fee caused a severe public censure.
As a response to the complaints, the NDRC announced a Q&A on July 28th concerning the recent increase of the bank fee. It is agreed that the bank fee should be reasonably estimated and the notice of the fee increases should be posted in advance. The NPRC also promised the release of the “commercial banking services price control measures” as soon as possible. However, the monopoly investigation requested by the public is not mentioned.
In the Q&A, the NDRC stated that the service fee business banks charges for ATM withdrawal is under market competition, and thus the amount should be set and adjusted by the head office of the commercial bank according to the Interim Measures Governing the Service Prices of Commercial Banks. However, the Measures is made by the banks association itself, and thus can not be a regulation for all. Moreover, the unanimous action of raising the price can be regarded as an acting of monopoly and an apparent violation of the AML.
The price of the monopolized industries such as the bank industry shall not be regulated under market competition only since it is closely related to the interests of the public. Concerning this matter, a recent legislation in anti-monopoly may be a great help in capping prices in monopolized industries.
On July 30th, the Legislative Affairs Office of the State Council of China released the “Draft Regulation on Government Regulated Prices” for consultation. The draft consists of 5 chapters, 24 articles, concerning the regulation on cost supervision and examination of goods and services priced by the government. The draft will be open to public submissions until September 1. Though the draft has some ambiguities remained in the process of cost supervision and examinations, it is still a useful guidance in operating costs and cap prices of monopolized industries so as to better protect the interests of the consumers
“The recent increase in the bank fee indicates the price monopoly in the bank industry of China. And the problem can not be solved by focusing on the regulation of bank industry only, the completing of the whole system of anti-monopoly law should also been done. So, the drafting of the regulation on government regulated prices can be seen as a chance for the government to control the prices of the monopolized industries.” concluded Wang Donghui, an attorney at Lehman, Lee & Xu.
As a prominent Chinese corporate law firm and trademark and patent agency, Lehman, Lee & Xu has always maintained a focus on the anti-monopoly law of China. The firm has also been recognized as one of the top full service and intellectual property firms in China by several international magazines. It now has offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Hong Kong, Macau, and Mongolia. The firm is managed by Mr. Edward Lehman, a leading expert on corporate law with over twenty years of practice experience in Mainland China.
To learn more about us, please visit our website at www.lehmanlaw.com.