THE SO-CALLED basic banking product introduced by the previous government of Robert Fico is no longer required as of April 1. President Ivan Gašparovič signed a revision to the Bank Act terminating the requirement in mid February.
Ivan Štefanec, an MP from the Slovak Democratic and Christian Union (SDKÚ) initiated the change in the law, arguing that limited public interest, as well as disadvantages to banks from this mandated product, was adequate reason to scrap the requirement. Štefanec stated that only five customers had subscribed to one of the basic banking products offered by the various banks and that this was proof enough that the previous government’s intervention made no sense, the SITA newswire wrote.
The idea of a basic banking product mandated by state regulations was adopted by the Fico government and required banks to offer identical services under their ‘basic banking product’ as of October 1, 2010. Former finance minister Ján Počiatek stated his aim was to 'heat up' competition in the banking market. Banks complained that the mandated product was unnecessary and poorly designed.
The low success found by the basic package among Slovaks was blamed on its higher fees compared to similar packages of services offered by the banks. The banks claimed the higher fees connected to the basic banking product were necessary based on the costs of the services that were required to be part of the package.
16. May 2011 at 0:00 | Compiled by Spectator staff