Sat | Jul 21, 2018

Bank fees also under the radar in The Bahamas

Published:Thursday | February 23, 2017 | 4:19 PMCMC
Perry Christie, Prime Minister of The Bahamas
Paradise Island in Nassau, Bahamas.

The Bahamas Consumer Protection Commission (CPC) says it has conducted survey to gauge public opinion and perception on the services provided by local clearing banks, and the level of fees associated with provision of those services.

“We want banks in The Bahamas to take a serious look at the way they deliver customer service to their clients and make every effort to make that experience less frustrating and more pleasurable for their clients,” said Jerome Gomez, chairman of the CPC..

“We want the central bank, its board and management to take a look at the issue and see if bank fees should be regulated, and whether all increases and decreases should be approved or declined by the central bank,” he added.

Gomez said 598 persons have responded to the survey, 402 short of the goal of 1000, with 177 persons or 30 per cent of respondents completing the survey online.

“We are going to make this survey results available to the Minister of Finance, the Minister of Labour who has responsibility for the CPC, the Central Bank of The Bahamas and each of the commercial banks in The Bahamas,” the chairman said.

“We would like to get a public discussion going to clarify if the banking service determining process is broken and needs to be repaired,” he added.

Gomez said that the CPC wants to know whether the banking fee structure is “running amok” because banking fees are unregulated and banks are trying to improve their balance sheet through fee increases as opposed to creating new and innovative banking products for their customers in an effort to improve profits.

Gomez said the Commission also wants to determine whether commercial banks are concerned about customer service, as most Bahamians feel trapped and locked in with their current banks. Most find it a hassle to change banks.

He said the next step is for the CPC is to examine what fees are charged in the foreign banks home countries and see how they match up to fees in the Bahamas.
“We will also look at fees in the Caribbean region and see how they match up to those charged here in the Bahamas,” he said.