"In 2023, the five largest banks operating in Portugal (Banco BPI, Caixa Geral de Depósitos, Millennium bcp, Novobanco and Santander) increased the financial margin - that is, the difference between the interest charged on credits and the remuneration on deposits - by 68%, compared to the previous year", notes the consumer protection organization.

However, "bank fees, whose unstoppable rise over the last decade the banks justified with the reduced gains resulting from low interest rates, fell by just 2.3%, on average".

"This residual decline was not, however, due to changes in price lists - which would be expected after the normalization of interest rates - but rather to the entry into force of a set of limitations on the charging of commissions, most notably the prohibition charging the commission for processing credit installments, strongly demanded by DECO PROteste".

All things considered, in 2023, "this group of banks charged 2,379 million euros in commissions, that is, more than 6.5 million euros per day".

Since 2015, the consumer protection organization "has been denouncing the systematic increase in commissions charged by banks which, in cases such as the commission for maintaining current accounts, does not even correspond to a service provided".

"Over the years, the banks' argument to justify these increases fell on the reduced financial margin resulting from low interest rates. But not even the reversal of this trend had any impact on the charges charged to bank customers", he concludes.