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Vinnies plea on bank fees

The St Vincent de Paul Society in Queensland has called on the major banks to reduce the transaction fees they charge "battlers" or to increase the number of free transactions they offer them.

The Catholic Leader reports that state president Tim O'Connor said there was growing anger in the community about "greedy banks exploiting the poor, the elderly, the disabled (and) people who prefer across-the-counter transactions".

The call came in the wake of Reserve Bank figures released late last month which showed that profits from bank fees last year were $6.3 billion, up 14% on the previous year.

"While some leading banks are now offering rebates and exemptions to a small minority of customers, low income earners and the elderly on fixed incomes need assistance," said Mr O'Connor. "These battlers are doing it tough and don't have access to the cheaper services such as telephone, electronic or Internet banking. They rely heavily on the more expensive counter withdrawals."

He pointed out that the cost of over-the-counter banking has increased 175% since 1995, from $1 to more than $2.75.

Catholic Leader