Turkey cuts banking fees in effort to boost lending

The Turkish authorities slashed the number of fees that banks can charge clients for a variety of services as it sought to direct lending to the economy.

The amount of fees for commercial customers was reduced to 51 from 2,400 and to 16 from 20 for retail clients, according to decisions announced by the central bank and industry watchdog on Monday.

Turkey’s government is seeking to boost borrowing by businesses and consumers to meet a target of growing the economy by 5 percent this year. Growth in commercial loans has lagged that of consumer borrowing, which has surged this year, prompting the authorities to offer further incentives for banks to lend to companies.

The measures announced on Monday included a cap on loan placement fees for corporate clients of 1 percent of the amount used and abolishing charges for businesses to open and operate bank accounts. The authorities also reduced the cost of money transfers for retail clients.

Treasury and Finance Minister Berat Albayrak said on Twitter that the government was focused on reducing banking costs and prioritising citizens’ interests.

The amounts charged by banks were “far from being comparable and may lead to overcharging,” the central bank said. “Consequently, complaints by clients have increased significantly.”