BBA boss laments RBC deposit fee increase
Bahamas Business Association(BBA)Chairman Marvin Smith toldGuardian Businessyesterday that the recent implementation by Royal Bank of Canada(RBC)of a 1%fee on over-the counter deposits of over$10,000 was unconscionable from a public relations point of view.
“It is just unbelievable that in 2011 a reputable bank like Royal Bank of Canada would seek to do that in these times of difficulty, particularly for small and medium sized businesses,”Smith said.
Smith’s comments follow yesterday’sGuardian Businessstory on the fee increase in which one gasoline retailer estimated that the bank stood to make substantial gains from the fee implementation at the expense of small businesses. An RBC official confirmed that clients with larger commercial customers would be in a position to negotiate the fee.
“It’s something that we would recommend that the Royal Bank truly reconsider, because I’d venture to say small and medium sized businesses collectively are perhaps Royal Bank’s largest client as a group, and we bring to Royal Bank the same economies of scale collectively as a large depositor does,”Smith said.
According to Smith, for the last two years Royal Bank has promoted its intentions to assist small and medium sized businesses. He said the new fees are contrary to that approach.
Manager of Public Relations and Communications for RBC Jan Knowles toldGuardian Businesson Tuesday that the fee was becoming an industry standard and the comparative fee was already in place at RBC’s operations in Canada. She also said that safety and security were of utmost importance and recommended the use of the bank’s day/night depository system for large deposits. Other fees introduced effective 1 January, 2011 include a$1 charge on all over-the-counter withdrawals or debits from savings accounts, and a 1%charge to non-RBC customers for the exchange of coins into bills for amounts over$100.
According to Smith there is a need for his generation of Bahamians to come together on issues of common concern, and said he would extend a hand to the Chamber of Commerce or any of the many associations representing business interests in The Bahamas to achieve greater unity on shared issues.
“My key message for this year for small and medium sized businesses is that we need to put aside our differences and we need to work together as one united force on things that are common and of importance to all of us,”Smith said.