Letter to Sir Dwight on commercial bank fees and charges

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Letter to Sir Dwight on commercial bank fees and charges
Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) Sir K. Dwight Venner
Governor of the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) Sir K. Dwight Venner

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.

LETTER

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
Governor
Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB)
P. O. Box 89
Basseterre, St. Kitts and Nevis
West Indies

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.

Sincerely,
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
Grenadines

The Media

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19 COMMENTS

  1. Put your money under your bed or in the Credit Union.....not in the bank! Not in the bank!.....

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  2. Luke, good luck if he tables your request. Recall in 2010 Morpheus, a Star contributor pointedly asked that Bum a number of serious questions as it relates to bad Banking practices to no avail...Bank fees is the least of it, consider Banks lending interest and its effective interest rates. The banks are the culprits suffocating progress in the Islands. Good luck

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  3. We should make this into a Caribbean-wide petition because the action by the commercial banks is just criminal. I have been forced to desist from writing cheques in the last month because the banks have increased fees for cashing cheques after it costs so much to acquire those cheques in the first place. (I had no idea that they charged go cash cheques in the first place.) There are withdrawal fees, insufficient balance fees, maintenance fees, and a whole lot of other such "species of larceny."

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  4. Saint Lucians, you do not have to use the services of any bank if you do not want to. You can pay in cash, that is legal tender. Saving is easy. Put you money under the mattress or bury that in a t-bomb or paint bucket in the yard.

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  5. It's criminal how scotia and RBC now charge $ for both ATM and teller CRAZINESS. The ECCB not gonna do anything about this.....It let me rephrase.... They CANNOT do anything.....this goes international to the greed Of elite bankers abroad.....they don't care about us....so good luck having rothschild change his mind

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  6. I am pleased to learn that someone has taken those banks to task. Another matter is this business of not issuing Bank Books, I think customer should be given the option of deciding whether or not they wish to have a book. How does one keep abreast of all those charges in the absence of a book. You go to the ATM you are charged, you go to the teller you are charged. Whats with those banks, no wonder staff are able to pilfer cash from persons accounts.

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  7. The same exist here in St. Lucia. Customers were not notified about those charges. There are fees for both over the counter withdrawals as well as ABM transactions at FCIB.

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  8. Finally... Somebody has acted upon this. I was furiated when I learned that RBTT charges one dollar for withdrawal and 5 dollars if the account balance falls under 100. This is absured!!!!

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  9. The same letter needed to be cc'ed to our Finance Minister as all these bank fees are outrageous in St Lucia as well. But will the banking sector even give a damn? If they charge $5 for banking at Mega J and I bet no one asked them to put an outlet there, what else will they not charge for? Soon we will be charged for simply walking through the doors of a bank or what?

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    • 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
      Grenadines

      The Media

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    • Man, did you have to embarrass yourself and the rest of sane people on the island by writing such crap? Are you that pregnant with tosh, moron?

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    • This is slavery 2.0. Remember how Cable & Wireless used to charge Caribbean people the highest rates in the world. The foreign banks have been doing it for years. You know what I did when Scotia did it here. Closed my account immediately and went to another. I just waiting for BOSL to try that shit. Dumping the altogether and going to credit union. You guys should stick it to them as well.

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      • Great Idea Its ridiculous the profits that these foreign banks make. The amount they give back to the community in comparison including salaries and staff compensation is insignificant. St-Lucians should try their utmost best to support the credit union movement where possible. It has done wonders in Barbados giving the major banks there stiff competition, right now they are in the process of doing better by opening a credit union bank. The profits from such institutions go back to their members in comparison to foreign banks where a substantial amount of profits go abroad.

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      • My Friend BOSL has already initiated these fees. They deliberately have not advertised it but if you look at your account closely you will notice.

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