After a legal battle, lasting for ten years, the customers seem to have won a case against Italian banks over the payment of interest.

Until the year 2000, all Italian banks calculated interest on accounts in credit once every 12 months and debited interest once every three months on bank loans and accounts in the red. This practice has now been upheld as illegal on appeal through the courts.

It is estimated that repayment of all the interest that has been wrongly debited would cost the banks up to 30 billion and until regulations are drawn up as to how the ruling will be applied it is unlikely that they will pay-up. In the meantime customers are pulling out their old bank statements, to prove what they are owed by the banks, and consumer associations are threatening further legal action.