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Court finds terms of use of Erste Group's George online platform unlawful

The commercial court in Vienna has declared 15 out of 18 terms of use of Erste Group Bank AG's George online banking platform unlawful, Der Standard reported Jan. 20.

The court was especially critical of the way liability is treated in cases of misuse or of interest rate charges on savings books as liability risks were passed on to customers while the bank itself should bear those risks, according to the report. Other clauses having to do with the termination of savings accounts and fees on such accounts have also been found in breach of Austrian laws.

The Austrian Association for Consumer Information VKI, which filed the suit against Erste Group, said it was pleased with the ruling. The bank told news agency APA that it plans to appeal the court's decision.

Erste has been developing George, which it launched in early 2015, into the "first pan-European banking platform" across seven markets and has been betting on the platform for organic growth, instead of M&A.