Wed | Sep 20, 2017

MP pushing tighter bank fee regulation vows to stand firm

Published:Tuesday | January 31, 2017 | 1:00 AM

Fitz Jackson, the lawmaker leading the charge for tighter regulation of banking fees, has vowed that he will not drop his demand for a minimum service package to be offered by banks, which remain upset that Parliament could legislate the issue.

Jackson made the declaration after meeting with representatives of the Jamaica Bankers' Association at Gordon House yesterday. His declaration gave an insight into the meeting that was reportedly dominated by fears of government intervention and cost.

"I made it abundantly clear that I'm unswerving from a minimum service package premised on the fact that, to the extent that these deposit-taking institutions are licensed by the State, there must be a minimum level of service afforded to each depositor," he told The Gleaner.

"Others say that we are setting prices, and I reject it. We're saying it is service."

He said that if the service had a cost to it, as the bankers maintained, they could apply it to their operations, much the same way that they have personnel, light, water, advertising and public-relations costs.

Jackson has tabled a private bill to amend the Banking Service Act to include the minimum service package. Debate on the bill has started.

Meanwhile, the St Catherine Southern representative said he was willing to relook at the bill if it does not make a clear distinction between customers and depositors.