A regional banking executive has sought to dispel the notion that banks collude on their fees.
Treasurer of the Banking Association in the Eastern Caribbean Currency Union and Country Manager of Scotiabank in St Kitts, Dave Ramsumair is assuring the public that there is so collusion in the banking system despite the outcry of high fees.
“Each bank has a different fee structure; very rarely will you find another bank having the exact same fee structure. Banks tailor their fees to suit the services that they provide and the costs they incur in providing those services. There is no cartel operation and there is no collusion,” Ramsumair said during an episode of the Central Bank’s ECCB Connects.
He added that the alternative to bank fees would be higher interest rates on loans.
“The cost of doing business is going up and the margins of loans have come down, so banks have to turn to fees and price them properly to help offset some of the reduction in spreads that they would make in interest rates. I know that the public sees us as gouging. Rest assured that nobody is trying to gouge anybody, we charge what we believe is reasonable,” Ramsumair added.
He also reminded customers that this is part of international regulations aimed at preventing money laundering and the financing of terrorism.
“Banks are required to verify source of funds. So we know in great detail who we’re dealing with. I know it seems like a lot, but banks are simply following the law. If we don’t follow the laws, you can lose your license.”
A few months ago, many Royal Bank of Canada customers across the region threatened to close their accounts after the bank introduced what they believed to be an exorbitant fee.