ANKARA

Fifteen banks in Turkey have been fined nearly 20 million Turkish liras, the country’s banking watchdog announced on Friday.

The Banking Regulation and Supervision Agency (BRSA) announced on Friday that it fined the banks a total of 19.65 million liras ($2.84 million) over transactions that did not comply with new rules introduced to deal with the economic fallout of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Without naming which banks were fined, the BRSA said in a statement that it had imposed the penalties after receiving complaints from banks’ clients and that the inquiry process is ongoing.

According to sources familiar with the issue, the watchdog also aims to draw attention to unfair banking practices during the virus-induced economic turmoil.

The BRSA recently introduced new decisions on Turkey’s banking sector to shield individuals and firms against the impact of the pandemic.

Providing flexibility on loan repayment for companies, meeting clients’ credit demands and facilitating debt restructuring, with reasonable interest rates were among the chief points of the new rules.

Some banks have not complied with these instructions and did not meet customers’ credit restructuring requests though payment delays were less than 30 days.

The BRSA had extended the delay to 180 days before credits could be placed in follow-up accounts.

It advised banks to provide additional financing support to firms with distorted cash flows and realize the necessary facilities, including deferred and restructured loan capital and interest payments for a minimum of three months at the request of customers.

Blocking customers’ bank accounts for credit payment and customer discrimination practices were also included among the administrative fines, the sources noted.

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