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Russia prohibits 'bank roaming' fees

Russia's State Duma passed in the third and final reading a bill banning lenders from charging retail clients higher fees for money transfers between accounts opened in different regional divisions of the same bank, also referred to locally as "bank roaming."

The Duma said that some banks impose higher fees for money transfers carried out between their regional branches compared with intraregional transfers, and the bill is aimed at eliminating "interregional discrimination" of the users of banking services and motivating lenders to "optimize business models and business processes."

The bill is expected to come into force after it is approved by Russia's Federation Council and signed by President Vladimir Putin.

The country's largest lender, PAO Sberbank of Russia, is one of lenders that collects higher fees for money transfers between accounts opened in different regional branches. The bank said earlier in 2019 it was working on solutions that would remove the fee for interregional transfers in the future, according to the Dec. 10 report.