WATCH: Clark knocks 'tone-deaf' banks over feesWednesday, January 26, 2022
Finance Minister Dr Nigel Clarke has called on local banks to be more sensitive of the economic and social realities of Jamaicans when setting prices.
He made the call Wednesday during an address at the Jamaica Stock Exchange's 17th Regional Investments and Capital Markets Conference at the Jamaica Pegasus in Kingston in response to the introduction of higher fees by commercial banks.
Speaking with OBSERVER ONLINE after his address, Clarke said “The commercial banks are acting as if they are tone-deaf, that there seems to be a callous disregard for the economic and social structure of Jamaica in how they are setting their fees.
“How else do you explain the introduction of a fee of $25 in one instance and $30.85 in another for customers to withdraw from ATMs, and if you withdraw from an ATM that is not the ATM where your account is, the fee is $60.”
He described as unconscionable banks charging lower income Jamaicans as much as $60 to withdraw money from their account using the ATM, and said that he expects banks to be “responsive” after dialogue.
“When you have a Jamaican… who make $15,000 a week or less, charging them $30 and $60 to withdraw from their account represents a material amount and it's not conscionable to ask people to pay that amount to withdraw their money if that is the level of their income,” Clarke said.
Since the start of 2022, NCB has introduced a $30.95 charge to customers withdrawing from its automated banking machines. Before, NCB customers could do withdrawals at proprietary banking machines for free. Using non-NCB ATMs (Multilink) for withdrawals will cost the bank's customers $60. Balance enquiries will cost $25 each, after the first four for the month. Using international ATMs for withdrawal via the bank's Visa debit card will attract a fee of $500.00 per transaction, among a host of other new fees including a new $500 charge to secure and print an account statement in the branch. The cost is the same for an e-mailed statement. If a customer comes in to make a balance enquiry, or does so by telephone or e-mail, the charge is $296.14 per account.
At Scotiabank, effective February 1, the charge for ATM withdrawals at its proprietary machines is $25 per transaction, and $60 for withdrawals at other banks' ATMs. Rates are less for seniors at $31 per withdrawal. Withdrawals at international ATMs will attract a fee of $312.
Other charges for Scotiabank will take effect on March 1, 2022. These include cash advance fees, loan application processing fees, refinancing fees, mortgage application fees, and more.