Sun | Sep 23, 2018

Banks must rein in high fees

Published:Friday | January 27, 2017 | 12:00 AM


I agree with the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica that the proposed amendment to the Banking Services Act appears to be an unnecessarily heavy-handed overreaction to the fixing of fees by the banks.

However, for some time now, there have been growing public complaints that the banks' operations border on being unconscionably. I agree with the PSOJ head that over-regulation, which this is, is undesirable and should be avoided.

But I also feel that the Jamaica Bankers' Association should be doing a better job of regulating itself if its members do not want Parliament to feel forced to step in to answer the clear call of the people whom it represents. This is a case where the banks failed to listen to their customers and forfeited their right to self-regulation by being insensitive and irresponsible.

Let's hope good sense prevails and the Bankers' Association has its members dial back on their onerous fee structure while, on the other hand, Parliament does not pass this legislation, which seems to be a case of government overreach with possible long-term effects.

By the way, this issue of insensitivity does not apply only to the fees, but to the general poor customer service and lack of communication by the banks. Bankers' Association, clean up your act! Regulate yourself! Parliamentarians will then not feel the need to display knee-jerk attempts to protect their constituents against perceived inequities with over-regulation.