Norwegian banks get stricter requirements related to cash services: “Cash still has an important role” 

KronerPhoto: Gorm Kallestad / NTB

The Norwegian government is setting in place stricter requirements for Norwegian banks when it comes to the possibility for customers to deposit and withdraw cash.

“Although most payments are made with electronic solutions today, cash still has an important role. There are many people, especially the elderly, who still use cash in everyday life. Access to cash is also important in terms of preparedness,” Minister of Finance Trygve Slagsvold Vedum (SP) stated.

On Tuesday, the Norwegian government introduced a new regulation stating that the individual bank must ensure that customers have the opportunity to deposit and withdraw cash, either under the bank’s own auspices or through an agreement with other providers of cash services. The new requirements will take effect from October 1 this year.

“Banks have a statutory duty to offer cash services. The requirements we are now introducing remove all doubt that may exist on the issue. It is still up to the banks to decide whether they want to offer the cash services themselves or participate in joint solutions,” Vedum added.

Several banks are dropping cash

Over several years, Norwegian banks have gradually reduced the opportunity for customers to deposit and withdraw cash in their branches in exchange for other solutions, such as cash services in grocery stores, the Ministry of Finance wrote in a press release.

The Ministry pointed out that according to surveys by Norges Bank and Finanstilsynet, several banks state that they do not have a responsibility to offer cash services to their customers. 

At the same time, the surveys showed that the offer had been reduced from 2018 to 2020 and that about 20 Norwegian banks did not offer cash services.

“These banks believed that their customers did not expect or demand such an offer because the customers were also customers of other banks that offer cash services. This is a measure that is intended to strengthen consumer rights, but will also function as a contingency,” Vedum told NTB.

“Totally agree”

DNB’s communications director Vibeke Hansen Lewin told NTB that the clarification of the regulations makes sense and should be practiced equally by the banks. She also noted that cash services in stores have meant that the banks’ cash offer as a whole has improved in recent years.

“At the same time, we see that many banks do not participate in this joint solution and do not comply with the statutory cash obligation. We believe this contributes to an unfortunate distortion of the conditions of competition between the banks, where some banks have to bear a greater cost burden than others,” Lewin said.

“Handling cash involves a number of costs related to, among other things, handling money laundering risk, security, transport, and administration. The rules should therefore apply and be applied equally to all banks.”

Source: © NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today / #NorwayTodayFinance

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