Bank Austria waives its right to CPI fee adjustment as of 1 April 2011

  • In order to guarantee its customers legal certainty, Bank Austria is waiving its right to adjust account management fees to the inflation rate as of 1 April 2011
  • After 2010, this is the second time in succession where the bank has waived its right to adjust its fees to the consumer price index (CPI)

"Bank Austria, acting on behalf of the entire banking sector, advocates a fair and practicable fee adjustment model and hopes that this issue will soon be clarified", says Rainer Hauser, Bank Austria's management board member with responsibility for private customers and small and medium-sized enterprises. "Following the lawsuit brought by Austria's Association for Consumer Information, it is now questionable whether there will be a procedure – transparent and easy to follow for customers – for adjusting fees and charges to the inflation rate. A procedure which is moreover based on the entirely objective principles of the Consumer Price Index."

The lawsuit of the Association for Consumer Information cites an interpretation of the EU's Payment Services Directive, which was translated into law in Austria with the Austrian Payment Services Act. Bank Austria cannot follow this interpretation. Bank Austria appealed against a ruling by a court of first instance in June 2010, and proceedings have moved on to the second instance. A final and absolute judgment has not yet been rendered.

Bank Austria will not shrink from pursuing all legal remedies open to it at the national and European levels.

Austrian bank fees are among the lowest in Europe
According to a study by Capgemini entitled "Payment transactions in Austria compared with Europe", commissioned by the banking and insurance division of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber, Austria is one of the countries with the lowest bank fees in Europe. The study reveals that customers in Austria pay an average EUR 50.80 less than those in all countries which served as a comparison.

Since 2002, the costs of Bank Austria's ErfolgsKonto account product have risen more slowly than other services, and less than annual net income. The adjustment of fees and charges serves only to offset inflation, and for a customer with an average Bank Austria Erfolgskonto account it involves an increase of 20 cents per month or EUR 2.40 per year.

In Austria, there are 4,051,470 salary and pension accounts. If Austrian banks intended to recover the planned levy on banks of EUR 500 million per annum through increases in fees and charges, the latter would have to be raised by about EUR 123 per account per year. Any claim that increases in fees and charges are linked to the levy on banks is therefore without foundation.

 chart (PDF; 88 KB)

Enquiries: Bank Austria Media Relations
 Matthias Raftl, tel. +43 (0) 50505 52809;
 e-mail: matthias.raftl@unicreditgroup.at

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