Wed | Mar 20, 2019

Banks under fire for not displaying fees

Published:Saturday | February 1, 2014 | 12:00 AM
Sharon Ffolkes-Abrahams

MEMBERS OF the Economy and Production Committee of Parliament on Tuesday chided some members of the Jamaica Bankers Association for their lethargic approach in displaying banking fees, especially at automated banking machines (ABMs).

Junior minister for industry, investment and commerce, Sharon Ffolkes-Abrahams, contended that charges for using ABMs were not displayed so that the consumer could make informed decisions.

Another state minister, Julian Robinson, questioned that if banks desired to encourage persons to use ABMs to do business with them, there was little incentive when the fees for using them ranked among the highest charges.

"Five of the banks surveyed have charges for withdrawing from ABMs, which I think runs contrary to incentivising persons to use those channels," said Robinson.

Committee member Mikael Phillips was of the view that it would not take much effort or cost to display various fees for using ABMs.

However, president of the Bankers Association of Jamaica, Maureen Hayden Cater, who is also an executive at First Global Bank, said her institution did not own the ABMs, but noted that other banks were considering displaying fees at the facility.

Committee member Daryl Vaz called Cater's response "unacceptable". He argued that if there was an agreement with a vendor who leased the machines, it would require a simple clause for them to allow the bank to display on the machine a fee schedule or a chart.

Cater also said members of the Bankers Association were making plans to ramp up their public-education drives.

"The Jamaica Bankers Association is taking it a step further. We are actually going to build on what we call financial literacy," the JBA president said.

She told the committee that the association would stage seminars and provide more information through media outlets to their customers in terms of their options.