Banks Can Lower Interest Rates on Current Account Overdrafts Efficiently, without Incurring any Costs – Statement by NBS Governor Jorgovanka Tabaković

Having in mind the interest of all participants in the banking market, the National Bank of Serbia has highlighted the need for and the significance of lowering the interest rates on current account overdrafts. In an effort to make it easier for banks, the National Bank of Serbia has proposed a procedure that will enable banks to lower the prices on these services efficiently, in accordance with law and without incurring any additional costs. 

Banks can lower the nominal interest rate, which is agreed as fixed and represents a mandatory element of the current account overdraft contract, by obtaining a written consent of the account holder. This is to say that there is no obligation on the part of banks and account holders to sign annexes to the existing contracts. 

Considering that banks are already legally obligated to send out a notification – current account statement to account holders with whom they have signed a contract on the current account overdraft, at least on a monthly basis and in writing or via another long-term data carrier, they can at the same time ask for the account holders’ consent to the intended reduction in the nominal interest rate under the contract on the current account overdraft. By doing so, banks will not incur any additional costs in terms of mailing expenses.

In other words, banks can obtain the account holders’ consent by sending out the consent form together with the notification – current account statement which the account holders would be asked  to sign and return to the bank. Alternatively, banks can inform account holders in the notification – current account statement that they are required to come to the branch office in person in order to submit their written consent to the reduction in the nominal interest rate under the current account overdraft contract.

In addition, some of these notifications – current account statements, are sent out by banks to account holders electronically (if so agreed). However, neither in such case shall banks incur additional costs of obtaining such written consents, as this will be done by sending out a single email message to every address.

Furthermore, contracts on authorised current account overdrafts are normally concluded for a fixed term, i.e. a one-year period. Following expiration of their validity, a large number of contracts are renewed each day. This means that the account holder must go to his/her branch office and conclude a new contract in person, which represents another opportunity for implementing a bank’s decision to reduce nominal interest rates under these contracts without incurring any additional costs whatsoever.  

Governor`s Office