Sat | Aug 19, 2017

PSOJ expresses concern over proposed amendment to Banking Services Act

Published:Wednesday | January 25, 2017 | 1:24 PM

The Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) says adoption of amendments proposed to protect depositors from incurring costly banking fees would be a retrograde step.

It’s calling for the government to consult with the private sector before it implements the proposed amendment to the Banking Services Act.

The Parliament yesterday began debating the proposal brought to Parliament in a private member's bill by St Catherine southern MP Fitz Jackson.

Jackson told the Parliament that banks are charging exorbitant fees at the expense of defenceless depositors.

Under the new Banking Services Amendment Act, banks would have a minimum service package under which each customer would be allowed a minimum of 120 free transactions annually.

In a release this morning, the PSOJ said the proposed amendment is a retrograde step adding that the minimum service package places the power to set fees in the hands of Parliament.

The PSOJ says this will remove competitive distinction from the market and make it less efficient as banks would no longer be allowed to set their own fees.

The organisation says it is aware of the public outcry against the cost of banking services in Jamaica.

However, it’s insisting that amending the act is misguided and contrary to the recent confidence Jamaica has seen under the Economic programme.

PSOJ president Paul Scott said amending the banking act now would be similar to the financial crisis in the 1990s, where restrictions led to capital being moved out of the hands of local investors to foreign investments.