Government throws out motion on bank charges

  • 23rd June 2003
  • 2003
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The motion by Lekh Ram Vayeshnoi to reduce bank charges and fees was defeated by the government on Friday.

The massive public outcry has fallen on deaf ears. The exorbitant fee, charges and interest rate that is imposed by the banks is unjustified. “It is daylight robbery of the clients”, said Mr Vayeshnoi.

The major banks in Fiji are ANZ, Westpac and Colonial National Bank (CNB). They command 82.5% market share on deposit and 83.7% of share in loans and advancement, thus they dictate the market forces.

There are high interest rates charged on personal loans, housing loans, commercial loans and other credit facilities.

ANZ charges 15% interest on unsecured personal loans while no interest is offered for balance below $250 in the savings account.

The recent levy of $2 per month across the board is also looting under the guise of removing few fees and charges that affect minimum number of customers.

The interest paid to savings account holders is less than 2% and on term deposits it is between 3-4%, while 13.5% is charged on loans.

There are also high service and administration fees charged by commercial banks and other financial institutions, including other hidden charges levied by institutions operating as cartels.

The Commission of Inquiry into Financial Institutions (CIFS) has revealed that for the last five years, ANZ’s net profit has been $15 million a year while that of Westpac has been $10 million per year.

The massive profits made by the commercial banks and the large number of excessive fees charged by the banks is unjustified. The people are suffering; the very people at whose expense the banks are enjoying the huge profits.

The government is turning a blind eye to the peoples cry.