By NEIL HARTNELL
Tribune Business Editor
THE Government and commercial banks yesterday agreed to create "a working committee" to examine the industry's fees and charges, although few details were released.
Dion Foulkes, minister of labour, told Tribune Business that all parties present had agreed to keep their discussions confidential and not saying anything beyond last night's short press release.
He had previously informed this newspaper that the Government was "serious" about addressing Bahamian consumer concerns over the continuous rises in bank fees, and it is unclear whether last night's statement will satisfy the public.
The only development of note was the supposed working committee's creation, with Mr Foulkes trying to strike a balancing act by saying he "understood the challenges of the banks, and also appreciates the concerns of consumers".
Mr Foulkes met yesterday with Ian Jennings, Clearing Banks Association (CBA) chairman, and representatives of the six clearing banks, including Royal Bank of Canada, Scotiabank, Fidelity Bank, Commonwealth Bank, Bank of the Bahamas and CIBC First Caribbean Bank.
Also in attendance were representatives from the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce and Employers Confederation (BCCEC); the Trade Unions Congress (TUC) and the National Congress of Trade Unions; the Prices Commission; the Consumer Protection Commission; and the Bahamas Bureau of Standards and Quality Services.
The talks were describes as "frank and open discussions on the recent increases in banking services".
Mr Foulkes also met with the governor of the Central Bank of The Bahamas, John Rolle, in a separate meeting.
The Central Bank, the banking 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.