Central Bank of Belize to Ease Consumer Bank Fees in December

Central Bank of Belize to Ease Consumer Bank Fees in December

The Central Bank of Belize is looking to streamline the bank fees that consumers are currently paying to access their own monies.  Currently, consumers are paying a fee to take monies out of the ATM.  One particular bank charges as much as seven dollars if you send someone to withdraw on your behalf.  Governor of the Central Bank, Kareem Michael, explained that they will be bringing some relief come December.

Kareem Michael, Governor, Central Bank of Belize: We have also, I should let you know that we have developed a practice direction that should come into effect in December that will target some of these fees that we have deemed as unfair or excessive. While I might not, might not be in my best interests or within norm to call the bank’s name I’m sure you can. The issue we’re having is a depositor across every point of access at a commercial bank is charged for that bank to keep his money. That I think stretches any sort of fairness boundaries or consumer financial protection ideas that we may have. If you go to an ATM you’re charged. If you said, well let me try to run in for over the counter that’s $2. And then if you do an online you’re looking at between $2 and $11, depending on the type of transactions that you’re doing. And that is not a situation where I think the Central Bank, or that is not a practice which I think the Central Bank should sit by and allow. Now if that pricing had made sense in terms of well let’s structure it in a way where we’re driving people to less use of cash and more online, then maybe the Central Bank would have taken a step back and listened to whatever appeal or objection the bankers association would have had. But for right now, right now, that pricing doesn’t make sense because the cheapest form of access is going to an ATM at 50 cents and pulling out your money. You’re not being penalized for using cash you’re steering me to use cash because the other access points are higher.”

Another example of bank fees being charged is when a consumer uses his ATM card at a third party machine.  In other words, if you use your Belize Bank Debit Card to withdraw from an Atlantic Bank ATM, the consumer is charged a percentage of the amount withdrawn.

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