By NATARIO McKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
THE Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC) yesterday launched its own survey on banking fees in response to private sector complaints.
Edison Sumner, its chief executive, told Tribune Business: "The Chamber will be launching a banking sector survey where we will be seeking input from members of the Chamber and businesses at large on their concerns. We have been hearing many complaints, for instance, about banking fees and service generally.
"We thought that as part of the research agenda we will be undertaking a full banking sector survey, and the results will be made public.
"We will use that information to see how we can improve on the services, and understand what the services are and understand the fee structure being imposed on consumers.
"We will gather the information and sit with the banks to let them know our findings," said Mr Sumner.
Besides impacting individual Bahamians, the fee increases also affect businesses, who are likely to regard the situation as a further impediment in an already burdensome 'ease of doing business' environment.
Mr Sumner said all the commercial banks are members of the Chamber.
He added that the private sector body will also attend talks between the Government, Clearing Banks Association and Central Bank this Thursday to address the issue of bank fees.
Dion Foulkes, minister of labour, announced last week that his Ministry has received "numerous reports and complaints" about bank fees and charges. These focused on increases in fees associated with cheques cashing and for credit card late payment.
The chairpersons and members of the three consumer protection agencies, the Consumer Protection Commission; the Price Control Commission; and the Bahamas Bureau of Standards and Quality will also be in attendance.
The Central Bank, the industry's regulator, has previously stated its opposition to imposing price caps on commercial bank fees, warning that this could have unintended negative consequences for consumers.
It has exhibited a preference for addressing the issue via greater competition and consumer education.