Friday, Aug 23, 2019
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Call to revisit banking fee hikes

Grand Bahama Chamber President Peter Turnquest is throwing strong support behind opposition of banking fees increases, making an appeal for a revisit of hikes that will impact over-the-counter deposits of over$10,000.

It’s a call not only being made for businesses in Grand Bahama, but those throughout The Bahamas that are already grappling with increasing expenditure and declining profits.

“I must make mention of the insane increases in banking fees that have recently been implemented by several banks,”he told members of the business community last week.”I urge the relevant authorities to have a second look at this situation with a view to reducing the already high burden on business, especially those high volume, low profit business, many of whom do not have the option to pass this cost on to an already fatigued consumer.”

His comments come as Royal Bank of Canada has implemented a 1 percent fee on over-the counter deposits of over$10,000, something company executives said was becoming an industry standard with comparative fees already in place at RBC’s operations in Canada.

Pointing out that local banks recently saw their expenses increase in the last two years, Turnquest argued that taxing their customers in return was not a good way for them to make up for lost revenue.

“No doubt[this was]to recoup the increase in bank license fees recently levied by the government,’he said.”I am sure this was not the intended consequence of the government’s decision in this regard and on behalf of small and large business throughout The Bahamas, and in

Grand Bahama in particular.”

It follows earlier statements by Bahamas Business Association Chairman Marvin Smith that the new fees were contrary to Royal Bank promotions in the last two years about assisting small and medium sized businesses.

“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.”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 there was 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,”he said.

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