Fri | Jan 19, 2018

Bank policies mostly defensible

Published:Monday | March 13, 2017 | 12:14 AM


Carl Murray's letter ('Banks - from a customer's viewpoint', Saturday, March 11) was very well written - I enjoyed reading it - but apart from the occasional extreme (e.g., an exorbitant $1,000 charge to cash a cheque drawn on another bank) there is very little there that cannot be successfully defended by the banks, should they wish to do so.

1. Notwithstanding the indicated arbitrage - the difference between buying and selling rates - of $7-plus on US$1, the banks as a whole may well be finding that (physically) handling' the forex (hard) cash (USD, pound sterling, etc, is marginal profit or even loss-producing.

The notes are manually (as opposed to electronically) handled to move around and, in the case of 'oversupply', back to the country of its nationality or such other arrangement(s) as may be in place in the system. This is why the arbitrage on cheque transactions (handled electronically) is so narrow in relation to that on the notes.

2. The tellers' (cashiers') lines are not mutually exclusive, so the 'balancing' is a simple case of local internal management. If the 'senior' or 'business' line is empty or sparse and the third line has 25 to 30 persons, one does not need rocket science management to see the solution.

3. Many (if not all) of these seemingly tedious or illogical protocols are outside the immediate control of the local banks and are there presumably to maintain good order and integrity in the banking system.