Turkey’s Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BDDK) on Thursday slapped seven banks with TL 204.7 million ($30 million) in fines after a series of customer complaints.
The banking watchdog, however, did not name the bank in question or detail the type of complaints they faced.
The decision would come as a relief to individual and corporate customers amid the economic difficulties caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
The BDDK said an inquiry process was ongoing following complaints made by the banks’ clients.
Earlier in May, the banking authority, in a similar move, fined 15 banks a total of TL 19.65 million over transactions that violated its instructions.
According to an Anadolu Agency (AA) report at the time, the BDDK move drew attention to unfair practices in rescheduling or restructuring debts.
Sources told AA in the May 15 report that although the delay in payments was less than 30 days, the customers' requests to reschedule or restructure debts, in line with BDDK's instructions, were not met by the banks in question.
Shortly after Turkey's first coronavirus case, the BDDK introduced a series of regulations to stimulate the economy and limit the impact of the coronavirus on businesses. The regulations announced on March 17 and March 19 extended the delay period for credits that are to be transferred to follow-up accounts to 180 days.
It requested to provide additional financing support to firms with distorted cash flow and to provide necessary means in delaying and restructuring loan capital and interest payments for a minimum of three months if requested by the customers.
On May 29, the BDDK had fined 18 banks around TL 102.1 million for carrying out transactions against its orders. It said the fines were handed out after examining the complaints by individual and commercial customers conveyed to it during the period of battling the COVID-19 outbreak.
Meanwhile, the BDDK said Thursday that the maximum limit of TL 1,300 on credit cards provided to customers who cannot declare their income to the banks, has been increased to TL 2,000.
Under normal circumstances, if the minimum payment amounts of credit cards remain unpaid for three months in a row they are closed for transactions for the calendar year. However, the banking authority has decided that the relevant provisions may not be applied by credit card issuers until the end of this year.
The statement noted that the decision was taken by considering the conditions the country was in due to the COVID-19 outbreak and as a protective arrangement for credit card-issuing institutions.
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