Wed | Nov 21, 2018

Archbishop labels fees charged by banks as 'wicked'

Published:Monday | February 19, 2018 | 12:00 AMJason Cross/Gleaner Writer
Archbishop of Kingston Kenneth Richards

The contentious bank fees bill has been dumped, at least for now, but even in its aftermath, Archbishop of Kingston Kenneth Richards has labelled as "wicked", the practice of many financial institutions pulling money from persons' accounts under the guise of special fees.

He was speaking at a service yesterday, at St Anne's Roman Catholic Church in West Kingston, which served to honour Deacon Peter Espeut for 25 years of thought-provoking columns in The Gleaner.

"You put $1,000 in the bank and if you want to draw $100, you have to pay $19. That is wickedness! Those who put in $10,000 and make it stay too long and don't use it, when they go back, they find $5,000. When they ask what happened to the $10,000, they tell you about bank fees.

"That is wickedness! That is manifested as scamming. That is corruption, and that is the way we treat each other. The man who has plenty money, he knows how to go around the system so he doesn't have to pay to withdraw his money."

Last Tuesday, member of parliament for St Catherine South, Fitz Jackson, vowed to retable the Banking Services Bill after government lawmakers voted against its passage.

Thirty government lawmakers rejected the bill in a close vote, which saw 29 opposition legislators supporting the proposed law.

During debate on the bill last Tuesday, Finance and the Public Service Minister Audley Shaw said that the Bank of Jamaica has been collaborating with other agencies to develop a comprehensive institutional framework to strengthen financial consumer protection.

He reported that a concept paper was being worked on with a June deadline. Shaw said the institutional framework would encapsulate provisions in the Banking Services Bill.

jason.cross@gleanerjm.com