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French banks agree with Macron to freeze fees in 2019 to appease protests

French banks agree with Macron to freeze fees in 2019 to appease protests
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PARIS (Reuters) – The bosses of France’s major banks accepted to freeze the fees they charge households next year in a show of support for President Emmanuel Macron’s plan to appease “yellow vest” protests that have rocked central Paris in the past weekends.

Macron summoned the country’s top bankers on Tuesday to discuss measures to alleviate the cost of living for ordinary people as part of his efforts to end weeks of nationwide protests.

The CEOs of BNP Paribas <BNPP.PA>, Societe Generale <SOGN.PA>, Credit Agricole <CAGR.PA> and other non listed banks all attended the meeting that followed a widely-watched Macron address broadcast on national TV channels on Monday.

The freezing of banking fees and a cap set on overdraft fees for poorest clients would represent between 500 million and 600 million euros ($682 million) in spending power for the banks’ retail customers, the presidency said.

During his address on Monday, Macron announced wage rises for the poorest workers, tax cuts for pensioners and other measures to defuse weeks of protests that started as a movement against taxes on fuels and gradually morphed into a wave of anti Macron riots.

(Reporting by Inti Landauro; editing by Michel Rose)

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