Italys new banking and investment laws, passed on 23 December 2005, have given the banking antitrust authority new powers to ensure competition and fair-play in private banking. The president of the antitrust organisation has therefore announced that his first investigation, to begin immediately, will be an enquiry into the costs of a current account. ABI, the association of Italian banks, claims that the average cost is 30 per year, while Adusbef, the banking consumer association, says that the price can vary from 252 to as much as 600 per year. The association says that bank charges have increased by 100 per cent over the past four years and that the annual cost of holding a current account is twice as much as the average annual cost in countries in the rest of the European Union.
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