On 20 September, the French competition authority fined 11 banks (including BNP Paribas, Societe Generale, Group Credit Agricole and BPCE) a total of €384.9 million for price fixing in the cheque processing market.
The banks had collectively formed the Commission for the Exchange of Cheque Images at the time of the switch to electronic processing of cheques, and artificially set a 4.3 centime interbank charge between 2002 and 2007. Despite the move to digital processing, which gave the banks the opportunity to realise substantial cost reductions, these reduction were not passed on to customers. The total excess fees charged through the Commission for the Exchange of Cheque Images amounted to €220m. The fine was raised by 10% for a number of banks involved in the cartel from the outset, and by 20% for 6 banks that had been involved in a previous cartel in 2000.