Mon | Jun 24, 2019

NCB's Hylton bats for bank fees

Published:Monday | March 5, 2018 | 12:00 AMOkoye Henry/Gleaner Writer
Patrick Hylton, President and CEO of NCB Financial Group Limited.

Western Bureau:

Patrick Hylton, Group CEO of the National Commercial Bank (NCB) Financial Group, says bank fees are vital to the financial institution's daily operations and should remain an integral part of the competitive approach of the local banking sector.

Speaking at last Thursday evening's official opening of NCB's Fairview Banking & Financial Services Centre in Montego Bay, St James, Hylton says it is quite expensive to maintain the many first-class banking services that NCB offers to consumers and so banking fees are critical as it gives the bank a competitive advantage in the financial sector.

"The fact of the matter is that it is an expensive service," said Hylton. "The infrastructure to provide proper service, the staffing that has to be put in place, the computer system and so on. You have to spend a lot of money on security and not just physical security, but information and data security. So it becomes expensive."

Hylton said that for those reasons, it is difficult to align with some members of parliament approach of wanting to legislate and regulate banking fees. In

fact, he stated that such a move would only serve to violate competitiveness on the free market.

"Fees can be a competitive advantage for different institu-tions. Institutions can decide to price in a particular way to attract clients who don't want to pay particular fees or those who want to pay a lower fee for a particular service. So I think that competition should be allowed to be the driver of those things," he said.

Hylton said that he believes that with more focus on self-service and online banking, the worries of banking fees will be a thing of the past.

Speaking at the same function, NCB Chairman Michael Lee-Chin said: "Everybody complains about banking fees, but you can circumvent banking fees if you went online and so we are looking to get more online services."

In February, Parliament voted to discontinue debate on the Banking Services Bill, which was tabled by Opposition Member of Parliament for St Catherine South Fitz Jackson.