Wednesday, March 29, 2006

First parliament discussion of draft bill Crone to re-institute the bank branch

Yesterday Dutch parliament started the discussions on a draft bill of a social MP, Mr Crone. Essentially it obliges banks to have reasonable fees, security etc for all payment and savings products. Furthermore, if the number of bank branches is too low in a certain area (3 kilometers, 5000 people) it allows the Ministry of Finance the role to hold a tenderprocedure so that banks put a bank branch back in place.

Not only is the draft bill trying to reverse a global trend of bank branches getting a different role in the distribution mix (see Cap Gemini posting), it is also not to the liking of many local municipalities. One of their spokesman, himself a mayor of a small town, was very clear in an article in the Financieel Dagblad this week. No more rules please; give us, small communities, the flexibility to design taylor-made local solutions.

Generally speaking, two major parties CDA and VVD, were opposed to the bill, with smaller parties wondering if the draft bill is not too heavy a canon to kill a musquito. So this bill is unlikely to fly.