Saturday, February 24, 2018

Banking blues

I have dealt with my current bank for more than ten years. In the beginning, as a Peter paying for Paul, I presented my passport, ID card, telephone bill, electricity bill, and was ecstatic to be afforded the privilege of being a customer.

I got a precious credit card, which is free, because the cash rewards outweigh the annual fee.

Although I obtained this card with no security, and a big limit of which I never used even half, I never felt trusted, because whenever I deposited my personal cheque on my other bank for just $1,000, a week had to pass before I had access to these funds to pay the credit card. Poor Peter as usual.

I was an ideal customer, never causing a line by going to a teller, never writing a cheque, only using the ATM and Linx, later, and online banking to pay bills. My bank account was therefore free as well.

Imagine my shock last week. In the mail arrived a red letter, "your monthly fee for the bank account is now $16!" What if I was a more valued customer with a balance of $1 million, and only used ATM and internet, I enquired. "Same khaki pants, sir." But, I was told, "if you choose another account, we will graciously permit you the grand total of one free withdrawal per month, however no cheques allowed".

What is going on here, I mused? Could it be that management is passing on to customers the consequence of its errors, bad loans tripled in the past two years? Or is there despondency at the drop in non-interest income, being beaten by competition?

Hazel Brown, where are you?

Benedict Anthony

St James