Wed | Jul 18, 2018

Letter of the Day | Condemn Scotia for exorbitant fee!

Published:Tuesday | December 13, 2016 | 12:00 AM


I went to Scotiabank on November 28 and encountered what I had heard was happening to maybe one or two workers at a primary school, at which I was just hired two weeks ago. They could not change their cheques at Scotiabank, the bank for which the cheque was written.

The supervisor at the branch told me that they raised the price for changing cheques from $140 to $1,358 for non-customers, starting November 2016. I could not believe the great jump in the bank's rate, and she asked me if I hadn't seen the notice.

Well, I explained that I had only one identification card and needed the permission of the authority there to get the cheques changed with that ID. She said she could change the cheque, but she would be withdrawing the $1,358 out of it. She further suggested that I ask my employer to sign the back of the cheque and then give us the cash. I told her that these are government schools, and they do not have a practice of signing the back of everybody's cheques to be encashed using their ID.

She also suggested that persons coming to change the cheques needed to open a bank account. She walked away as I looked at their notice.

I was most annoyed and shocked at this brazen, drastic change in Scotiabank's policy regarding cheque changing, without, in my opinion, adequate public notification. The bank seemed to have notified its customers or those who might go to the bank each week. Those workers who are ancillary staff actually get smaller pay cheques than the teachers, and so this deduction would impact them adversely.

The situation for weekly paid workers or

bi-weekly and part-time workers is dismal and also troubling for monthly paid workers who do not have a bank account at Scotia or possibly anywhere else. I must say that many may not have food or money to pay bills, possibly over the last two weeks after being paid their weekly or bi-weekly cheques from the schools.

After asking others in the public about this, I am now realising that other persons have been complaining about this large compulsory deduction when they go to change their cheques and are surprised at it.

Please investigate this. A whole group of workers in our beloved Jamaica have been hampered by this punitive charge on changing cheques at Scotia. Such fees are too exorbitant.