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LETTER OF THE DAY - Questions about banking practice

Published:Thursday | March 11, 2010 | 12:00 AM

The Editor, Sir:

In the days of yore when banks used to play an essential role in the economic activities of any country, their core business was to gather funds and make loans. In this way, they facilitated businesses of all stripes, which enabled increased economic activity.

Sadly, having been fed on a diet of high inte-rest-rate return from the Bank of Jamaica, local banks have lost their way. Banks, after all, do not sell tangible items, and they can only justify their existence and profits by offering good-quality service. Fees must bear a qualitative relationship to services offered.

Once again, they have lost their way, and perhaps nothing exemplifies this more than on the day the Jamaica Debt Exchange was announced, one banker pronounced that fees would go up to make good any shortfall profits occasioned by this action.

Prior to all this, however, the escalation in fees was proving oppressive and burdensome and as one wag remarked, it would precipitate the advent of a second FINSAC.

The Bank of Jamaica, Ministry of Finance and other regulatory authorities seem to have a hands-off policy. It is time that they arise, take note, and move to protect the interests of the Jamaican consumers

How is it that the banks take deposits, make a spread and turn around and levy a charge for depositing to a savings account? And this in a country that ought to be encouraging savings to build up capital for our overall development.

I am, etc.,

A.F.B. O' NEILL

afbon@hotmail.com