Tunisia: Conference explores reasons behind high banking fees

Aug 12, 2011

A conference held last month explored the reasons behind the high fees charged by Tunisian banks, which are often twice the cost of those in Europe.

Tunisian banks often charge fees that are twice the cost of those in European countries, it has been reported.

These fees are an obstacle to increasing access to banking services and are mainly due to a lack of competition and regulation, according to Samy Moulay, Professor of International Finance at Tunisia University, quoted by La Presse newspaper.

He explained banks in the country cannot count on intermediation charges like those in Europe and have to charge a sum on their services to cover their costs.

They are free to fix their fees as long as they inform the Central Bank of Tunisia ten days before applying the tarification and the Central Bank cannot oppose the application of a fee, the news source reported.

Furthermore, there is very little competition between banks. According to Mr Moulay, they charge almost the same fees, especially when it comes to cashiers' transactions and regular services.

This environment partly explains the differences in fees and level of access to banking services compared with Europe.

With an access to banking rate of around 60 percent, Tunisia is far behind France, where 99 percent of the population have access to such services.ADNFCR-2976-ID-800698565-ADNFCR