A senator from St. Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) has written Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) Sir K. Dwight Venner on the recent imposition of certain bank fees and charges by commercial banks in SVG.
In an e-mail to the media around the Caribbean, , Luke Browne said the letter was sent to Sir Dwight last week Wednesday and copied to all the heads of government that sit on the ECCU Monetary Council. Incidentally, he said there would be a Monetary Council meeting in SVG next week Friday.
According to Browne, he asked the governor to put this matter on the meeting’s agenda for determination.
“I believe that we all could play a role in securing an outcome that is in the best interest of bank customers throughout the ECCU and our economies overall,” Browne said.
R. T. Luke V. Browne, BSc. (UWI), MSc. (Oxon)
Cane Garden, P. O. Box 1
Kingstown, St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Telephone: (784) 533-2775
E-mail: [email protected]
Wednesday, July 9, 2014
The Honourable Sir K. Dwight Venner
Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB)
P. O. Box 89
Basseterre, St. Kitts and Nevis
Dear Sir Dwight:
Re: Objection to Commercial Bank Withdrawal Fees and Monthly Service Charges in SVG
I would like to bring to your attention a matter of grave and urgent concern to the financial welfare of Vincentians. This matter requires your immediate intervention as Governor of the ECCB (the sub-regional regulator of commercial banks).
The foreign-owned commercial banks which operate in St. Vincent and the Grenadines have taken the much-storied exploitation of their customers to new and quite frankly unacceptable heights. I present this issue from a Vincentian standpoint but I feel sure that the problem is not unique to St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
There has been public objection to the withdrawal fees and monthly service charges which have been recently imposed on the clients of Scotiabank, CIBC First Caribbean and RBTT. The problem is not simply that many people are not even aware that these fees exist and may lead to the surreptitious depletion of their accounts as it has to do with the fact that there appears to be no reasonable justification for such fees in the first place.
We see the imposition of the said fees and charges as acts of aggression against bank users and a hostile attempt by commercial banks to lower the effective interest rate on savings accounts through the backdoor after the Central Bank refused to accede to the requests of banking sector lobbyists for a reduction in the minimum interest rate payable on these accounts to below the current level of 3 percent. The commercial banks have in effect circumvented the authority of the ECCB and we do not expect you to tolerate this.
The banks in question have already profited from favourable government policies and generous concessions that were meant to put them in a position to pass on benefits to their customers and employees but which obviously did not achieve the desired objectives. The commercial banks have instead unnecessarily contributed to the creation of unemployment, adopted absurd credit policies and have in general badly neglected the developmental needs of this country. They behave as if they are a law unto themselves and are galloping along on a profit-seeking rampage that must be brought to a swift halt. We therefore call on the ECCB and the Monetary Council of the ECCU to take action to arrest the rapacious conduct of all the relevant banks and to have the pertinent fees and charges removed.
We would welcome a position paper by the ECCB on the non-loan strategies that are being employed by commercial banks in their quest for profits. We also respectfully request that this matter be put on the agenda of the upcoming meeting of the ECCU Monetary Council which is scheduled to take place in St. Vincent and the Grenadines on July 25, 2014. We look forward to a satisfactory determination of this species of larceny.
Thank you for your attention and consideration. I invite you to contact me at (784) 533-2775 or [email protected] if you require any further information or clarification.
R. T. Luke V. Browne
St. Vincent and the Grenadines
Cc: Honourable Hubert Hughes, Chief Minister of Anguilla
Honourable Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda
Honourable Roosevelt Skerrit, Prime Minister of Dominica
Dr. the Right Honourable Keith Mitchell, Prime Minster of Grenada
Honourable Reuben T. Meade, Premier of Montserrat
The Right Honourable Dr. Denzil Douglas, Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis
The Honourable Dr. Kenny D. Anthony, Prime Minister of St. Lucia
Dr. the Honourable Ralph Gonsalves, Prime Minister of St. Vincent and the