Pakistan's anti-trust commission this week imposed fines totalling Rs770 million ($8,190,644) on 1-Link Company and 28 of its member banks for colluding on charges to customers for ATM withdrawals.
According to an article by the Tribune of Pakistan, the 1-Link Guarantee Limited company and each of its 11 founding banks were charged with an Rs50 million ($531,860) fine, while 17 non-founding member banks received Rs10 million ($106,372) fines. Citibank was not charged as it did not participate in the fee scheme.
"1-Link member banks are acting in a collective manner by charging a uniform fee to their customers for 'off us' ATM cash withdrawal transactions," said the CCP in its ruling.
In its preliminary fact-finding, the CCP noted that 1-Link controls 80 percent of the ATM network in Pakistan. The company is comprised of 11 major banks (all of which also serve on its board of directors) and 20 other member banks.
The CCP also found that despite liberalization and deregulation measures the efficiency of banking financial industry falls below that of the banking sector in developed countries and even below countries such as India and Bangladesh.
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