Central Bank amended the Communiqué on Procedures and Principles of Fees to be Collected by Banks
Dilsah Gurses Erulutekin
10 August 2021
The Communiqué numbered 2021/6 (Amendment) amending the Communiqué on Procedures and Principles of Fees to be Collected by Banks from Commercial Customers (Communiqué) was published in the Official Gazette dated 9 August 2021 and numbered 31563 and became effective on the same date. Aside from increasing certain fee caps, through the Communiqué, the Central Bank of Turkey (Central Bank) introduced a new exception to the restrictions directed at commercial fees charged by Turkish banks for certain types of loans, such as project financing and acquisition financing.
What is new?
New Exception to Commercial Loans
In early 2020, the Central Bank introduced certain limits to fees and commissions that may be charged to commercial customers under the Commmuniqué. In its implementation guideline, the Central Bank clarified that such limits and restrictions imposed under the Communiqué shall not apply to the fees and commissions for the syndication loans extended by the participation of Turkish and non-Turkish banks under foreign law governed credit agreements. This had been a hotly debated issue in the market before then, as cross-border financings involving Turkish and non-Turkish banks are very common in the Turkish market.
With the Amendment, the Central Bank further excluded: fees to be charged for project finance, acquisition and merger finance, privatization finance and structured finance loans, and refinancings of such loans extended under standalone loan agreements or supplemental agreements and protocols relating to general loan agreements, from the scope of the commercial loans. As a result, the foregoing loans will no longer be subject to restrictions imposed on commercial customer fees under the Communiqué, regardless of the governing law of the relevant loan agreement or composition of the lender group.
ATM Transaction Fees
With the Amendment, the Central Bank increased the fee caps that can be collected by the banks for EFT transactions with respect to money and precious metal transfers of commercial customers that are conducted via ATMs.
Accordingly, the upper limit of fees for EFT transactions conducted via ATMs has been increased from:
- TL 2 to TL 4 for the transactions amounting to TL 1,000 or less, and
- TL 5 to TL 8 for the transactions between TL 1,000 and TL 50,000.
Fees for Establishment of Security Interests
The Central Bank also introduced a new cap for fees that can be charged for the establishment of a pledge over movables or a mortgage and expertise fees for the same. Accordingly, such fees cannot exceed 115% of the payment made by the banks to third parties during these processes. The relevant provision previously did not allow such fees to exceed the amount paid by the banks to third parties.
Member Merchant Fees
With respect to transactions where foreign issued cards are used, the upper limit of the member merchant fee was increased from 1.60% to 1.90%, provided that the transaction amount is transferred to the free use of the member merchant the next day.